Whitestone Contracting records loss

Waitaki District Council-owned Whitestone Contracting Ltd has recorded an overall loss for the past financial year, but continues to be a major employer in North Otago and contributor to its economy.

For the 2012-13 financial year, the company reported a surplus before tax, donations and subvention payments of $9600 (compared with $770,325 the previous financial year), but a net deficit of $427,123 (compared with a surplus of $571,749 the previous year).

The deficit resulted after a $300,000 subvention payment to the council, donations and sponsorships of $55,229 and tax of $81,494.

During what Whitestone chairman John Walker described as a year of ''considerable challenges'', staff numbers were reduced by 24 to reflect that.

However, the company continued to employ 126 full-time equivalent staff and paid out almost $8.7 million in wages, salaries and employee benefits.

Mr Walker said the company started the financial year with the loss of two roading maintenance contracts with the Waitaki and Waimate District Councils, making up 25% of its turnover.

The company actively sought out revenue streams and was successful in sustaining total income at similar levels to the 2011-12 year.

Total operating revenue was $19,378,008, compared with $19,405,833 in the previous financial year, but expenses increased to $19,368,408, compared with $18,635,508 in 2011-12.

The 2012-13 financial year began with poor weather during August last year, which delayed a start to work the company had, resulting in the company carrying resources for a period, Mr Walker said.

During what was a rebuilding phase, the company bought Dunstan Sprayers in Central Otago and late last year took possession of an asphalt plant. Production is due to start this financial year.

It also continued its expansion into the Canterbury market, which had come at a cost but was expected to make a positive contribution to the company in the long-term.

The company had a positive outlook for the present financial year and continued to tender for projects across a broader operating area.

The Waitaki District Council owns all the shares in Whitestone Contracting, which has total equity of almost $10.5 million

- david.bruce@odt.co.nz

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