NTR cuts full-year losses to €89m
LOSSES AT utility NTR fell to €89 million in the 12 months to March 31st as the company shifted investment away from the businesses that left it with a record deficit last year.
The unlisted company, whose biggest shareholders are Tom Roche and his family, had revenue of €327 million in the period, only slightly below the €329.4 million in sales recorded during the previous 12-month period.
Losses fell to €88.8 million from €381 million in fiscal 2011. It wrote off a total of €62.9 million against the value of two Irish businesses – waste manager Greenstar, which cost it €34.8 million, and telecoms company Imagine, against which it took a €21.5 million hit.
Last year’s record losses were partly the result of a series of reductions in the value of assets and businesses held by NTR, including its failed US solar power venture.
Last September the group told shareholders it did not expect further losses from the solar business, which cost it €42 million in 2011 and €96 million the previous year. The group has since exited the business.
Over the last year it also sold the bulk of its shares in US biofuels business Green Plains Renewable Energy, cutting its stake to 2 per cent from 31 per cent and realising €54 million.
At the same time it stepped up its investment in Wind Capital Group, which develops and operates wind farms in the US. The group has increased its stake in this company to 97 per cent from 62 per cent.
NTR chief executive Michael McNicholas said yesterday investing in Wind Capital gave it a position in an operating business rather than one under development.
The company operates five wind farms in Missouri in the US midwest. It expects to complete construction of its Post Rock facility in Kansas this year, bringing total capacity above the 500 megawatt mark.
Overall, NTR invested €107 million across its portfolio during the 12-month period. The value of its assets increased to just over €1 billion from €996.1 million.
Along with Greenstar, NTR operates a number of toll roads in the Republic and is a shareholder in water services provider Celtic Anglian Water.
Mr McNicholas acknowledged yesterday that the creation of the new State utility Irish Water could open opportunities to this business over the next few years.
The board is not recommending the payment of a dividend to shareholders. NTR’s stock is traded on the grey market as the group is not listed on any stock exchange.