Infratil has reported a record $1.2 billion full-year profit, driven by the sale of its majority stake in Tilt Renewables for $965 million in the first half.
The infrastructure company made a $16m loss last year, which was blamed on a series of one-off costs and increased management incentive fees.
Shares closed up 2.53 per cent as the NZX50 fell 0.4 per cent following steep falls on Wall Street overnight.
Proportionate ebitdaf - or share of operating earnings in the collection of companies in which it holds stakes - was $474.9m - up from the prior year's $371.2m.
The company forecast proportionate ebitdaf of between $510m to $550m for 2023.
A second-half dividend of 12.5 cents per share was announced, taking the full-year dividend to 18.5cps versus FY2021's 18cps.
Forsyth Barr analyst Aaron Ibbotson said there were no surprises in the result. While the forecast for 40 per cent operating earnings growth was in line with guidance, "it was good to see them deliver".
Ibbotson, who has a buy rating and a 12-month target of $9.05, said CDC Data Centres' performance was strong, in line with expectations.
The performance of Infratil's other major tech asset, Vodafone NZ, was better than expected on tight cost controls (see more on the telco's numbers below).
Ibbotson said he'd been disappointed there was "no tangible news" on the Vodafone cell tower sale and the possible outside investor in Infratil's US renewables business, Longroad. But he said the high level of interest in both initiatives was reassuring.
Revenue up amid acquisitions, divestments
Operating revenue rose from $590.8m to $1.1 b. The total excluded Infratil's cut of revenue from its divested share in Tilt, but included its first full-year of revenue from QScan, a part-year of revenue from a second healthcare acquisition, Pacific Radiology Group and a lift in revenue at RetireAustralia, in which Infratil holds a 50 per cent stake.
Infratil's management or "performance" fee, payable to its manager Morrison & Co, increased to $270m from the year-ago $223m.
An investor presentation said the fee was "largely from the realisation of Tilt Renewables and the valuation uplift in CDC Data Centres".
CDC's valuation increased by 31.3 per cent over the period to a A$2.8b - A$3.0b range. That makes Infratil's 48 per cent stake in the data centre operator easily its largest asset.
Infratil said the two hyper-scale data centres CDC is constructing in Auckland's northwest, in a $300m-plus build, were on track to open during the first half of FY2023.
CDC's full-year ebitdaf was up 9 per cent to A$161.2m. Ebitdaf was forecast to rise by up to 40 per cent in FY2023 to between A$220m and A$230m as new data centres went live.
Vodafone cell tower sale: the costs so far
There was no update on the possible sale of Vodafone NZ's cell-tower network bar that the process was "progressing" and that there would be a further update in the second half. Vodafone NZ earlier said it had appointed Barrenjoey and UBS to run its possible sale. Today's update said $7.2m has been spent so far on the sale process so far.
Analysts expect the sale to realise more than $1b, which will be split across half owners Infratil and Brookfield, based on similar deals across the Tasman.
That would mean a windfall of $500m-plus for Infratil. The New Zealand company and Brookfield both have a 49.95 per cent stake in the telco, with Vodafone NZ chief executive Jason Paris and various members of his executive holding the balance of shares.
Rival Spark has put a 70 per cent stake in its cell tower network on the block - which analysts estimate is worth at least $700m. Today, Spark named Rob Berrill, a former head of commercial for its fibre operation, as the CEO of its new "TowerCo" subsidiary (the telco had no further update on the possible sale).
Vodafone's ebitdaf rose 15.7 per cent to $518.0m on revenue which increased 0.7 per cent to $1.97b.
The telco's operating earnings were forecast to rise 5 per cent in FY2023, in part through cost controls and efficiencies and the easing of border restrictions - which is expected to boost roaming revenue.
Wellington Airport ebitdaf increased to $56.8m from the year-ago $20.8m.
An increase in ebitdaf to $65m - $70m was forecast for FY2023, "driven by recovering passenger numbers as New Zealand restrictions lift, and borders are reopened".
Infratil holds a 65 per cent stake in the airport.
The company also reiterated today that it and 50:50 partner the NZ Super Fund were conducting a strategic review of their Retirement Australia shares.
Infratil chief executive Jason Boyes said the firm - which owns 28 retirement villages across the Tasman - was performing strongly but said: "We feel it is a good time to assess the scale of the investment in our portfolio and whether there is a higher value owner."
RetirementAustralia's valuation was raised from $361m to $410m.
And although it offloaded Tilt, Boyes said Infratil had put $300m into renewable energy, including a $233m investment in Singapore-based wind and solar energy operator Gurīn Energy.