Electra Chair Neil Mackay will retire at the company's Annual General Meeting on 26 July, having served twelve years on the board and the last three years as Chair.
Due to retire in 2018, Mr Mackay was re-appointed for an additional one-year term by special resolution of the Trust that holds 'shares' in the company on behalf of its owners – the 44,987 electricity consumers connected to the Electra network.
"Neil's extended-term provided the leadership needed to get the company's ambitious 10-year growth strategy up and running and to ensure, with the Trustees that the board has the right mix of skills to provide strong governance," says Trust Chair Sharon Crosbie. "As Board Chair Neil has provided strategic smarts during significant and positive transformation for the Electra Group and he will be missed."
This strategy includes continued investment in the core network business to deliver operational efficiencies and the identification of complementary acquisition and investment opportunities with significant upside potential for the Group.
From the electricity network perspective, the company has continued to perform well above industry standards while customers enjoy New Zealand's lowest average power bills. This has been further enhanced by a reduction in the price of power over the last year.
The Group has invested in a joint venture with Spark, taking a 50% stake in Connect 8, a premier construction contractor for the 'buried infrastructure industry'. Connect 8 provides a solid foundation for the roll-out of fibre, mobile communication and other infrastructure technologies across New Zealand. The potential is substantial, targeting annual revenues of $50m.
The Group has also continued to invest in Electra Services, a medical alarm and security monitoring and call centre business based in Levin, employing 67 people. This is a market-leading and highly disruptive technology business which is challenging the traditional medical and security alarm sectors, with a particular focus on the aged care market and is well-positioned to become a major player in this market.
Neil leaves the Group in a healthy financial position with strong shareholder equity and a diversified asset and revenue base. Profitability has increased, with the Group's net profit after tax for the 2018/19 financial year ($4.6m) up 21% on the previous year ($3.8m). At the same time, the Group has delivered increased sales discounts every year, crediting $9.1m (incl. GST) to consumers (via their electricity retailers) in 2019.
The Electra Group plays an important part in supporting and encouraging regional economic growth, yet the importance of the business to the region is often overlooked. Neil says, "Electra is an exciting company that is poised to grow significantly over the next 5 years. It is well-positioned to play an increasing role in developing and managing infrastructure assets that are critical to the region's wellbeing. The Group is in great shape to achieve its future growth targets."
Neil, who has had broad sector-based governance experience covering finance, non-profit, economic development, transport, manufacturing and service organisations, rates his term with Electra as one of his most satisfying experiences as a director.
"I have been fortunate to have worked with a high performing management team, well-led by Chief Executive Neil Simmonds and a talented group of directors. I am thankful for the Electra Trust support for the growth strategy the company has committed to, and for their efforts in selecting high calibre directors with the skills the Group needs."
While he is retiring from the Electra board, Neil will continue to provide leadership and governance to a number of new technology businesses while seeking other directorships.