Meridian Energy will pay a $71.3 million dividend on its earnings for the first half of the financial year, in line with its dividend policy of a 75 per cent payout ratio.
The company declared an underlying net profit after tax of $98.9 million for the six months to December 31, down 20 per cent on the previous period, largely thanks to the sale its two Tekapo hydro power stations to Genesis Energy as part of government mandated electricity sector reforms.
Low hydro inflows during the period also reduced earnings for the largest of the state-owned electricity companies slated for partial privatisation over the next five years.
"Board approval of this level dividend is positive reinforcement of the company's performance during this period," said chief executive Mark Binns. The company was also ensuring it had sufficient capacity to fund future growth plans.