'Really solid' results from council companies

Graham Crombie
Graham Crombie
The Dunedin City Council's group of companies are set to deliver ''really solid'' results to councillors this week, despite some mixed performances, Dunedin City Holdings Ltd chairman Graham Crombie says.

Mr Crombie told the Otago Daily Times he was encouraged by the performance of the companies, even though some continued to feel the lingering effects of the global financial crisis and Canterbury earthquakes.

Aurora Energy Ltd, Delta, Dunedin International Airport Ltd and Taieri Gorge Railway Ltd would all present their six-month reports - covering the period to December 31 last year - to this week's full council meeting.

The reports, made public before today's meeting, showed Aurora had booked an after-tax profit of $5.79 million for the period, while Delta continued to bounce back from a rough 2011-12 with a $2.765 million profit.

However, Dunedin International Airport Ltd, in which the council had a 50% stake, recorded a profit of $895,483, about $300,000 below its $1.2 million budget.

Taieri Gorge Railway Ltd had also struggled, with a $498,000 loss, which was larger than the $351,000 expected.

The latest reports came after Dunedin City Holdings Ltd, City Forests and Dunedin Venues Management Ltd all reported to the council in February.

DCHL's report had shown an after-tax profit of $8.667 million across the group, up 10.1% on the previous year, while its own profit was $1.4 million, down from $2.3 million in 2012.

City Forests' profit was up, at $5.1 million compared with $2 million the previous year, while DVML's loss - at $475,000 - was a slight improvement on 2012, when it lost $690,000.

Mr Crombie told the Otago Daily Times on Friday the companies' results showed ''really solid'' progress despite some challenging conditions, and he was ''pretty comfortable with how they're all travelling''.

That included the airport company, which he said was ''travelling along pretty well'' despite facing some ''challenging times'' in the wake of the Canterbury earthquakes.

''I think they're a little bit behind where they hoped to be,'' he said.

Airport chief executive John McCall, in his report, said the company had experienced a 5.1% drop in aeronautical income, due in part to a reduction in domestic jet services landing at the airport and changes to the type of aircraft that still were.

Scheduled domestic landings were steady, at 2731 for the last six months of 2013, but international landings were down 6%, to 140, he said.

Domestic passenger numbers were up slightly, by 0.8% to 402,487, in the same period, but international passenger numbers were down 1.7%, to 34,797, he said.

Those factors meant the company's profit, at $895,483, was 25.9% below budget expectations.

But the company was not alone in facing tough market conditions, as the Taieri Gorge Railway was also still affected by disruption to the tourism sector caused by the Canterbury earthquakes, Mr Crombie said.

''It's changed the nature of what people do. In the past, lots of people would've flown into Christchurch and jumped in camper vans or rental cars and cruised around the place.

''It's not back to where it was.''

Aurora's results had also been dented by a ''warm winter'', but the company was now experiencing a ''trending up'' of work related to subdivision and building developments, such as new electricity connections and substations, he said.

DVML's result showed signs of improvement, and - with a second All Blacks test for the year, against England, scheduled for June - the company was ''pretty hopeful they'll get a reasonable outcome'' for the year, Mr Crombie said.


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