Trust Power pulls plug on Rutataniwha

March 28, 2014

Trust Power has pulled the plug on a potential investment in the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.

. . . The power company terminated its memorandum of understanding with the council subsidiary, Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC), and Ngai Tahu Holdings, under which it would have invested between $50m and $60m of the total cost of the project.

“Trustpower has determined that it will not be possible to invest within its risk and return framework for a project of this nature,” the company said.

HBRIC said it “remains strongly of the view that the scheme offers the Hawke’s Bay community both significant environmental and economic benefits and that subject to securing contractual commitments to take water that the scheme will prove financially viable.”

HBRIC would continue to negotiate with Crown Irrigation Investments and recommended this week that council should invest up to $80m in the scheme. It was also looking for expressions of interest from investors in the region to participate in the scheme.

Trustpower’s general manager, operations, Chris O’Hara, said while there was clearly sufficient short-term appetite for the scheme to justify its construction, the long-term uptake by farmers and other irrigators was not strong enough for TrustPower to feel comfortable committing shareholders’ funds.

“Projected cashflows were not meeting a rate of return that would meet shareholder expectations,” he said. . .

Irrigation schemes have long term returns, they don’t usually generate much in the way of cash flow

The loss of a potential investor of that size is a setback but it does provide other opportunities:

Farmers and businesses in the Hawkes Bay need to act quickly to fill the investment gap opportunity left by TrustPower’s exit from the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.

“There’s a wonderful opportunity here for Central Hawkes Bay farmers and businesses to get behind the dam to make it work. The Central Hawkes Bay community is now able to be a significant investment partner and take ownership of this project to really drive it forward,” says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

While some parties may naively present TrustPower’s withdrawal in a negative light, Mr Curtis says it was very common for irrigation schemes to have changing investment partners in the development stage and that TrustPower had only signed a memorandum of understanding.

“The benefit is that the withdrawal allows more local farmers and businesses to buy into the scheme and we know from history that local people driving local solutions always turn out to be the best for the community in the long run,” says Mr Curtis.

“The Hawkes Bay really needs this scheme to proceed as there’s nothing else of significance on the table that would have the ability to reinvigorate the Central Hawke’s Bay economy, create jobs and generate new business opportunities. You only need to look at the looming drought in the Waikato and Northland to see how the provinces suffer when rainfall is low in consecutive years. This is why it is so important to have the right irrigation infrastructure in place to mitigate environmental impacts. The flow-on effects are felt by everybody, not just those working in agriculture.”

“The Ruataniwha scheme is exactly the sort of irrigation scheme New Zealand needs to bring new life to regions like the Hawkes Bay, allowing many of its rural towns to thrive again,” says Mr Curtis.

“IrrigationNZ encourages all potential investors in the Ruataniwha scheme to come to our conference being held in Napier for the first time in just over a week’s time (7th-9th April). You’ll find out everything you need to know about the benefits of investing in water management and how other regions in New Zealand have progressed their water schemes. It couldn’t be timelier to bring an irrigation expo and global irrigation experts to the Hawkes Bay as we’ll be discussing Ruataniwha within a wider debate looking at the future of irrigation in New Zealand.”

Hawkes Bay is drought-prone.

The RWSS would provide very effective insurance against dry weather with significant economic, environmental and social benefits.

The long term pay off from irrigation is immense but it takes a big commitment up-front to get it off the ground.


Rural round-up

September 28, 2013

Private Investors announced for Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme:

Two well-known New Zealand companies have signalled their intention to potentially invest in the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme in Hawke’s Bay.

TrustPower Limited and Ngāi Tahu Holdings Corporation Limited (NTHC) have each signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company Limited (HBRIC Ltd) to potentially invest in the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme in Hawke’s Bay.  HBRIC Ltd is Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s investment company and lead entity for the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme which, if approved, has the potential to improve the water quality and quantity in the Tukituki River and reliably irrigate up to 30,000 hectares of land. 

All parties emphasise their commitment to deliver the best possible outcomes for the Hawke’s Bay region, across environmental, social, cultural and economic values.  Today’s announcement comes after significant combined investigations by the two potential investors with HBRIC Ltd. . .

Putting NZ dairy innovation on the world stage:

New Zealand-owned dairy technology innovator, Waikato Milking Systems, will showcase its expertise in large-scale, high-volume milking systems at the World Dairy Expo in the United States.

The 100% New Zealand-owned and operated company will display a selection of its products at the show, including products specifically designed for high-producing, 24-hour dairy operations. The international show is in Madison, Wisconsin from October 1 to 5.

“The World Dairy Expo attracts leading dairy operators from all over the globe. It is a great opportunity to put New Zealand dairy innovation and technology on the world map,” Waikato Milking Systems Chief Executive Dean Bell says. “Our rotary milking systems are known for being reliable and robust with very little maintenance required – ideal for withstanding the rigours of 24 hour milking.” . . .

Central Otago country hotel wins accolade at national hospitality awards:

A Central Otago country hotel has taken out one of the top accolades at this year’s Hospitality New Zealand Awards for Excellence. Chatto Creek Tavern near Alexandra won the Best Country Hotel title.

The Hospitality New Zealand Awards for Excellence were announced in Queenstown last night. The Supreme Champion award was presented to The Batch Café in Invercargill. Winners were announced in 16 categories and encompassed a vast geographic spread of hospitality businesses throughout the country. . .

DINZ keen to ensure that AgResearch’s Future Footprint delivers for deer industry:

Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) is looking forward to working with AgResearch in the implementation of its Future Footprint plan, which AgResearch announced yesterday it would proceed with.

DINZ Deputy Chair, Jerry Bell, said today that “there has certainly been concern in our industry about the impact of the Future Footprint plan on deer research. Industry representatives have sought assurances that deer research will be not diminished and have received a strong commitment from AgResearch to our on-going deer research programme”.

“People at the Invermay campus have been absolutely critical in the success of our industry, but the reality is that deer research has been contributed to from a range of campuses for some time now. What’s of greatest importance is the quality of, and the investment in those people, not necessarily where they are”. . .

Top 40 Cooperatives And Mutuals Top $41Bn Revenue:

The 2013 New Zealand Cooperative and Mutual Top 40 list was launched by Minister of Commerce Craig Foss at the Cooperative Business New Zealand annual meeting in Wellington on 17th September.

Showing a combined annual revenue of $41,129,034,964 for the year 2011-12, the Top 40 cooperatives in New Zealand ranged from Fonterra Cooperative Group and Foodstuffs at the top through Southern Cross Healthcare Society and Mitre10 to Ashburton Trading Society, the Dairy Goat Cooperative and World Travellers, with the NZ Honey Producers Cooperative coming in at #40.

“I think it is important that New Zealanders sit up and take notice of cooperatives; they help drive the economy, respond to social change and create jobs in a variety of sectors. While they may often be low profile, they are significant economic actors,” said Minister Foss. . .

Progressive Enterprises confirms no sulphites in fresh meat:

Progressive Enterprises does not add sulphites to its fresh meat and the recent samples taken by the Ministry for Primary Industries, which showed positive results for sulphites, were not from any Countdown, SuperValue or FreshChoice supermarket. 

Progressive Enterprises is disappointed that media coverage of the MPI testing has provided an inaccurate and misleading impression that samples which tested positive for sulphites were found in major supermarkets. . .

Fonterra Farewells

Fonterra Co-operative Limited today farewelled its former Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Mason who retires from the Co-operative at the end of this week.

Fonterra Chief Executive Theo Spierings said Mr Mason would leave behind an invaluable legacy: “Jonathan joined us in 2009, in the midst of the global financial crisis. He led our finance team through those difficult times, and the Co-operative emerged from the crisis in a strong position. He then helped to deliver our new capital structure with the successful implementation of Trading Among Farmers.

“During his time here, Jonathan has also dedicated himself to building and strengthening our finance function and team. . .

Former CFO:


CPW negotiates Lake Coleridge storage

June 5, 2013

Central Plains Water Ltd (CPWL) has signed an historic agreement with TrustPower to store water in Lake Coleridge for use by its shareholders when the Rakaia River flow is low.

Doug Catherwood, chair of CPWL, in announcing the agreement said he was unaware of any other storage facility offering to release contracted water on demand in New Zealand.

“We have to book the volume a year in advance but TrustPower will release it with about a day’s notice,” he said.

The agreement follows months of discussion and has been made possible by the Government’s decision to alter the Conservation Order covering the river and lake.

“This is another big step forward for us. Lake Coleridge is an existing reservoir, and at this early stage the Coleridge Storage will support Stage 1 at least of the CPW Scheme, which involves water supply to 20,000 hectares of farming land,” Catherwood said.

TrustPower would provide 95% reliability for the scheme for Stage 1, he said. Before the agreement was signed, CPW was able to offer only 70% reliability with the run of river supply.

“This is good news for us. Ninety-five per cent reliability is virtually water every day for farmers. This is a real alternative to our own water storage reservoir.”

There is potential for more stored water to be available for future stages of the CPWL Scheme.

“Research will need to be conducted before we can be assured on the reliability of the next tranche of water. We now know the reliability will be considerable and well worth pursuing. This will constitute the next phase of our discussions.”

Catherwood said having reliable alpine water was key for the viability of CPWL.

The positive impact meant that current ground water users who are pumping from up to 200m wouldswitch to surface water, releasing the pressure on the over allocated ground water usage, enabling the aquifers to be replenished and increase the environmental flows in the lowland streams.

“As our construction proceeds over the next couple of years, we will provide equal reliability for the coming stages of the CPW, without compromising environmental concerns for the river and the lake.”

The first stage of the irrigation scheme will run from near the Rakaia River bridge to near the Hororata River. It will be worth approximately $144 million.

A high percentage of reliability is the key to success for irrigation.

Without it water takes are reduced or cut altogether when farms need them most.

We were in North Canterbury in March visiting farms which had had their water take cut. That was having a significant impact on grass growth and milk production.

The North Otago Irrigation scheme has 99.9% reliability thanks to minimum flow requirements on the Waitaki River and the seven dams above the supply ponding area which can store water until it’s needed.

 


LabourGreens steal from us all

April 20, 2013

JB Were says the LabourGreen power plan will sap energy from the local market:

The Labour/Greens announcement on electricity sector reform concerns us on two fronts: firstly, the move to a state buyer of power risks being a retrograde step for the New Zealand economy. Secondly, we believe it will prove damaging for New Zealand capital markets, and comes at an unfortunate time given the significant progress made here since 2010. We detail these two concerns below: . . .

The damage to capital markets has already started.

Share prices in energy companies  fell yesterday in the wake of the LabourGreen plan to power us back to the socialist seventies.

TrustPower, which is 50.7 percent owned by Infratil, fell 5 percent to $7.18, leading decliners as fallout from the opposition parties’ plan to centralise buying of electricity and split generators from their retail arms weighed on utilities.

Contact Energy fell 2.8 percent to $5.31 and lines company Vector slid 2.1 percent to $2.82. Infratil dropped 1.3 percent to $2.30. . .

Those shares aren’t just owned by the wealthy the left hate.

They’re also owned by people of modest means who have worked hard and put something away for a rainy day.

They’re also owned by community trusts and other philanthropic organisations which fund charitable projects.

They’re also owned by insurance companies, including ACC.

They’re also owned by Kiwisaver and the Superannuation Fund.

The LabourGreen power plan is in sabotaging the value of investments is stealing from us all.


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