NZ Refining to review New Zealand's 'laziest balance sheet' 27 Apr 2012
- NZ residential building consents rise 6.6% in April Business
- TruScreen signs up Chinese cancer screening programme Business
- G3 Group's full-year profit rises 12% Business
- Wynyard continues with board changes Business
- Finzsoft annual profit slumps 93% Business
- NZ dollar little changed Business
- Global mobile marketer VMob oversubscribed Business
- NZ dollar falls as ascendant greenback fanned Business
- Air New Zealand cancels two regional routes Business
- Stride says 'stapled structure' protects PIE status Business
New Zealand Refining’s board has promised to review its dividend policy, heading off a charge that investors bear the brunt of volatile earnings through gyrating payments and what one shareholder called “the laziest corporate balance sheet in New Zealand.”
The company that runs the nation’s only oil refinery needed small shareholder support in today’s crunch vote in Whangarei on a $365 million Continuous Catalyst Regeneration Platformer Project (CCR). The project required shareholder approval because of its size relative to NZ Refining’s market capitalisation of around $785 million.
Shareholders BP and Mobil, who hold 43 percent of the refinery’s shares, are understood to have opposed the CCR proposal, and the company mounted an unprecedented round of shareholder briefings to try to shore up a majority for the CCR.
If rejected, the refinery will still spend $105 million on a must-do upgrade to keep the refinery running past 2015.
The board’s most trenchant critic was former Contact Energy and Shell NZ director John Milne, who said it was “astonishing” that the company was in its 50th year of operation and “still has no dividend policy.” He criticised its policy of carrying almost no debt on its balance sheet.
Reduced dividends were identified as a major concern by other small shareholders, who depended on share income to meet living expenses.
However, chairman David Jackson appeared to expect the attack, announcing in his general remarks the board would later this year review the optimal gearing for the company, whose policy has been to completely repay debt raised for major projects at the expense of dividends.
While deleveraging had been prudent during the global financial crisis, the board and management would consider “whether this is appropriate for the long-term structure of the company.”
The review would be undertaken this year.
The touch and go vote occurred at 2pm, with a result to be announced to the NZX this afternoon. NZ Refining shares remain in trading halt in the meantime, having last traded at $2.75.
Craigs Investment Partners said in analysis this week the CCR option was the better of the two options, although it would prefer there was an option for delay, and warned there was no guarantee dividends would return to normal levels before 2020.
Milne said even though the company had substantial retained earnings, the board treated the payment of dividends as “purely discretionary.” Jackson, in turn, described NZ Refining as “highly cash-generative” despite the volatile impact of swings in global refining margins and the exchange rate on its profitability.
Milne also accused the board of failing to act transparently by refusing to reveal how many of the directors representing oil companies had opposed the CCR project, and to allow one of as many as four directors to explain to shareholders why they had objected.
Jackson would not allow such disclosures, saying communication should be directed through the chair and chief executive.
16 May 2016 News
Asia New Zealand Foundation Shanghai trip to inspire New Zealand teachers A group of teachers hailing from Invercargill to Whangarei... more
16 May 2016 News
New Zealand Government Hon Louise Upston Minister for Women 15 May 2016 Highest ever percentage of women on state sector boards New... more
17 May 2016 Business News
Tuesday 17 May 2016 05:10 PM NZ dollar tumbles vs Aussie after RBA minutes, extends slide on inflation outlook May 17 ... more
29 May 2016 Arts
The Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival, recently awarded silver for Best Tourism Event in South West Tourism Awards, is now... more
16 May 2016 Lifestyle
Crossing The Bridge Exhibition to Showcase Ashburton’s Migrant Community 16 May 2016 A photography and film exhibition... more
16 May 2016 Property
By Jonathan Underhill May 16 (BusinessDesk) - Kiwi Property Group, the country's biggest listed property investor by market value,... more
30 Mar 2016 Migration
British High Commissioner Jonathan Sinclair is defending changes to skilled migrant rules for Britain but suggests they won't affect... more
16 May 2016 NZ Tourism
Article - BusinessDesk Monday 16 May 2016 12:20 PM Jucy plans to expand pod-style hotel chain to Australia in 2017 By Fiona... more
16 May 2016 Sport
Kids' Lit Quiz New Zealand’s ‘other’ national sport has its time to shine Monday, May 16 2016: There’s no... more
16 May 2016 Column
Column - Gordon Campbell Gordon Campbell on New Zealand’s support for the Kazakh dictatorship Thanks to Sacha Baron... more
12 May 2016 Appointments
New Zealand Government Hon Anne Tolley Minister for Social Development 12 May 2016 New appointments to Vulnerable Children’s... more
28 Apr 2016 Appointments
University of Otago University of Otago appoints next Dean of Pharmacy A leading researcher from Canada has been appointed as the... more
10 Mar 2016 Recruitment
New Zealand Government Hon Michael Woodhouse Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety 10 March 2016 Zero-hour contracts gone, PPL... more