Dunedin’s Debt Drops by $25 Million

Only Half a Billion Left to Get Rid Of

Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (DCHL)’s half-yearly report, released Friday 27 February, shows its debt has dropped by $25.8 million in the last six months, bringing the total to $586.5 million. The report, which shows finances to 31 December 2014, says that the previous year’s debt peaked at more than $600 million.

The DCHL is an investment organisation made up of companies including Aurora Energy Ltd, Delta Utility Services Ltd, City Forests Ltd and the Taieri Gorge Railway. The group makes regular direct payments to its shareholder, the Dunedin City Council.

The overall drop in debt across the group could mean that Dunedin residents pay a lower interest bill as a result, according to DCHL Chairman Graham Crombie. “The first six month[s] of this financial year have produced a pleasing result for the group,” Crombie said in a press release. “Cash flow within the group is strong, the profit is higher and debt has reduced. This is a good outcome for shareholders, the ratepayers of Dunedin.”

DCHL attributed the drop to an increase in cash flow. Cash flows for the six months were $96.4 million. This is $4.4 million more than the same time the previous year. Capital expenditure for the group was also $4.1 million higher than in the same period in 2013. The report showed the group’s total revenue increased by 9.5 per cent, now sitting at $128.3 million.

The city’s debt is made up of three components, according to Crombie. The first is from DHCL, the second is from Forsyth Barr Stadium and the third is from the Dunedin City Council itself.

In the latest figures, Aurora Energy reported a net profit of $7.3 million. This is ahead of their profit in the previous year, which was $5.8 million. Delta’s profit was slightly down, dropping from $2.295 million to $2.765 million. The Taieri Gorge Railway showed a similar trend, reporting a net loss of $236,000. However, the tourism market for the railway has picked up, which DCHL attributed to the cruise ship season being earlier than the year previous. City Forests profits also reduced from $5.037 million last year to $3.724 million.

The six-month results show that profit increased for Dunedin International Airport Ltd from $1.151 million to $1.22 smillion. The Dunedin City Treasury Ltd also reported a profit increase from $4,000 to $386,000 this year.
This article first appeared in Issue 3, 2015.
Posted 5:30pm Sunday 8th March 2015 by Emma Fletcher.