Aurora Energy results break records

Tasmania’s state government-owned electricity distributor and retailer Aurora Energy has recorded its strongest financial results in history.

Improvements to the 2012-13 financial records follow significant cost reductions across the business and coincide with the smallest electricity price increase for several years.

Chairman Geoff Willis said the company’s underlying profit of $76.5 million was more than $20.1 million higher than the prior year and would enable increased returns to be made to the Tasmanian Government.

“One of the most pleasing aspects of this result is that it is largely attributable to cost reductions made across the organisation,’’ Mr Willis said.

“A reduction in functional expenses and finance costs of more than $31 million compared to the previous year testifies to the strong management of the company in a period of major industry reform. Thanks to the hard work of Aurora employees we have increased our total returns to the Tasmanian Government by 36 per cent or more than $10.1 million to $37.9 million in the past financial year.’’

Mr Willis said Aurora’s Board would be recommending the payment of a dividend of $25 million to the government later this year, after a $16 million payment last year.

“It is pleasing that the commercial return to our shareholders will flow through to the Tasmanian community,’’ Mr Willis said.

Aurora group revenue rose 4.3 per cent above the previous year to $1.56 billion, while the cost of energy and transmission purchases increased by 5.4 per cent to $1.06 billion.

The company’s chief executive officer Dr Peter Davis attributed the result to more than two years of restructuring, productivity and efficiency initiatives.

“The transformation that has taken place across Aurora has resulted in a streamlined workforce that is clearly focused on meeting customer needs at the lowest sustainable cost,’’ Dr Davis said.

“Balancing our business as usual activities with reform implementation presents a significant challenge for our company over the next 12 months. Aurora’s people are demonstrating great resilience in the face of change, demonstrated by their commitment to quality customer service.’’