New Zealand Hydropower Company Makes Progress

New Zealand Electric Generator and retailer Mighty River Power has announced a 10-year fixed rate bond issue of up to NZD$200 million (US$111 million) as the company seeks to diversify its debt portfolio and improve the liquidity of its funding.

Auckland, New Zealand – April 21, 2003 [] Last month, the company announced it returned an operating surplus of US$79.4 million, before interest and non-recurring items for the half-year ended December 31,2002. Mighty River Power Chairman Rob Challinor said funds from the unsecured, unsubordinated bond issue would be used principally to repay short term bank debt, which will further extend the company’s debt maturity profile and diversify debt sources. “This will improve the liquidity of the Company’s funding and also provide us with more flexibility should any further generation opportunities arise out of the changing electricity supply environment,” says Challinor. Mighty River Power’s bond issue is for approximately 10 years, although the Company will have the option for early repayment after five years. The longer maturity period fits in well with the company’s current generation assets and its strategies for investment in economically attractive new projects. The issue opened on April 15 and closes on May 7. The bonds are offered to the New Zealand public. A reserve pool of bonds to a value of NZD$15 million (US$8 million) has been set aside for Mercury Energy retail customers. Mighty River Power’s announcement regarding Q4 ’02 revealed the best six month result in its history with a group operating surplus before interest and non-recurring items of NZD$79.4 million (US$44 million). Challinor said the company was well positioned for the future with the bulk of its energy coming from renewable generation sources on the Waikato River and in the Central North Island geothermal fields.
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