Utilities investor Infratil reported a 1.7 per cent lift in first-half operating earnings, with a two-month contribution from Vodafone New Zealand offsetting weaker returns from Trustpower and its Longroad Energy interests in the US.
Excluding businesses sold in the past year, underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and changes in financial instruments rose to $289.4 million in the six months ended Sept. 30, from $284.6 million a year earlier.
The company reported a net profit attributable to shareholders of $56.4 million from $58.5 million a year earlier.
Vodafone, acquired in partnership with Brookfield Asset Management for $3.4 billion in late July, contributed $39.1 million to group ebitdaf, and Infratil reaffirmed the guidance it provided in July for full-year ebitdaf from continuing operations of $655-695 million.
Infratil noted that that forecast assumed that Vodafone's full-year earnings would be toward the bottom end of the $460-490 million signalled, excluding transaction costs and non-cash adjustments for changes in accounting standards.
Infratil plans to pay a 6.25 cent interim dividend, unchanged from a year earlier, on Dec. 13 to shareholders registered at Nov. 29. The company says it expects its final dividend to match the 11 cents paid in June.
Infratil were flat at $4.90 in midday trading and have gained about 35 per cent so far this year. The firm raised $400 million during the half-year for its $1.03 billion share of the Vodafone acquisition.
"The acquisition is transformational for Infratil and significantly strengthens the cash generative core of the portfolio while increasing Infratil's exposure to long-term data and connectivity growth," the company said today.
Infratil has spent the past two years refocusing its portfolio to put more emphasis on renewable energy and digital connectivity, while also exiting investments that had not worked strategically or which didn't offer sufficient growth potential.
In May, it sold its 50 per cent stake in its student accommodation concession at the Australian National University, and its Snapper bus card business.
In September, it completed the sale of NZ Bus and its 80 per cent stake in Perth Energy.
Including those firm's earnings, group ebitdaf for the period was $306.4 million, down from $326.3 million.
Other than Vodafone, the biggest improvement in earnings came from the firm's stake in Canberra Data Centres, which brought in ebitdaf of $26.3 million, up 49 per cent, as new facilities came online.
Earnings from Trustpower fell to $107.1 million from $129.6 milllion, due to lower generation volumes and high wholesale prices.
Wind and solar developer Longroad Energy contributed $17.8 million, down from $51.1 million a year earlier, reflecting the timing of development projects.
Tilt Renewables and Wellington Airport both reported modest increases in earnings to $75.4 million and $50.4 million respectively.