NTR's losses soar to €210m as it shoulders impairment charges
Losses at utilities group NTR rose nearly 10-fold to €210.6m in the 12 months to the end of last March after it shouldered impairment charges of €148m in the period related to its US-based solar business and its Greenstar waste management operations.
Releasing full-year results yesterday, the company reported a pre-exceptional earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) loss of €64.9m, which included a development spend overhead of €106.5m. The EBITDA loss compared with a loss of €24.6m in the 2009 financial year.
NTR said that EBITDA at its core business units -- its Greenstar waste operations in Ireland and the US -- fell to €30.8m from €35.5m a year earlier.
NTR, which is controlled by businessman Tom Roche and his family, also has interests in wind energy development and ethanol production in the US, water treatment services and roads.
Its group share of EBITDA from those activities amounted to €10.8m, down from €15.5m in 2009. Group revenue was €244.7m, down from €485m a year earlier.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, NTR chief executive Jim Barry said the company had taken a decision to include a significant impairment charge on the goodwill associated with its US solar operations following a realisation that commercialisation of the technology wouldn't take place next year as had originally been envisaged.
"We took a prudent approach," he said, pointing out that an impairment charge was also set against the Greenstar business due to the current macroeconomic climate that has seen waste volumes being treated by the business in Ireland fall 28pc from peak to trough.
He said new accounting rules on impairments meant assets had to be examined every year for potential writedowns. Net of tax and minority interests, the impairment charge attributable to equity holders of NTR was €96m.
Mr Barry added that NTR remained in a strong financial position, with group cash resources of €64.7m and an extra €23.1m held in escrow and at subsidiaries held for sale.
NTR recently announced the sale of its Greenstar operations in the UK, which will generate net proceeds of €125m for the group, while it also recently announced the €50m sale of most of its road assets, including its East Link operation in Dublin, to a Dutch investment fund.
NTR is paying a full-year dividend of 7.7 cent, which Mr Barry said would cost the group about €15m.
Asked if it would be more prudent to preserve cash, Mr Barry said the company had made a "commitment on liquidity" to shareholders some time ago and wanted to adhere to that.
The issue will be further discussed at the group's annual general meeting next month.