In the six months to December 2008 the company recorded a net loss after tax of $20.5M, and an underlying profit of $84.6M. Meridian Chief Executive Tim Lusk said: “While we have not had the problems of previous years we have had our challenges this year, with a wet winter and a much more competitive retail environment, and to have achieved this result which is line with our targets is very encouraging indeed.”

The improved performance was also achieved at a time when Meridian was undergoing significant internal change following a review of the company structure and its way of doing business.

“This has been a necessary adjustment after the first ten years of Meridian’s existence, and we are well on the way to re-shaping the company organisationally and culturally to ensure it is fit-for-purpose for the period ahead,” added Lusk.

The most significant development during the period was the announcement of the decisions from the Ministerial Review of the electricity industry, which will see ownership of the Tekapo A and Tekapo B hydro stations transfer from Meridian to Genesis, with Meridian receiving the thermal reserve plant at Whirinaki.

Other highlights of the period included the full commissioning of the West Wind wind farm near Wellington, and the commencement of construction of the Te Uku wind farm near Raglan, while a set-back had been the rejection by the Environment Court of the resource consent for the Project Hayes wind farm development in Central Otago. This is now being appealed to the High Court.

Lusk says the company is confident that its strategic focus on renewable energy remains a sound basis for its future growth.