Energy Trust says thank you to the community
1 July 2015
Eastern Bay people gave a resounding ‘thumbs up’ this month to the Eastern Bay Energy Trust’s purchase of all Horizon Energy shares.
92.34% of Eastern Bay power account holders who voted, ticked ‘yes’ in the Energy Trust’s consumer poll, which closed at midday today. See the result notice at the end of this article.
Energy Trust chairman Don Lewell said the majority vote gives the Trust the mandate to buy all of the Horizon shares that it does not already own. The Energy Trust currently owns 77.29% of Horizon and will now buy 13.9% of Horizon shares from Marlborough Lines Limited, taking ownership to over 91%. At this threshold, the Energy Trust can make a compulsory share offer to all other shareholders and by the end of July, will own Horizon outright.
Mr Lewell said that the Horizon share purchase is the final step in what has been a five-year process. “The trustees and I have always wanted to see the Horizon lines asset returned to community ownership, just as it was before corporatisation of the lines sector. It’s about getting back what was ours.
In some parts of New Zealand, lines companies have been sold to off-shore investors and that means all profits paid for by the local community, leave not only the community but the country. We didn’t want that to happen in the Eastern Bay.”
Mr Lewell said that the Trustees are grateful to the community for the support shown in the poll and said that the Energy Trust could not proceed with the Horizon share purchase without the ‘yes’ vote. “We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who took time out of their busy lives to fill in and send back the voting forms – every one of you has made a difference.”
Mr Lewell added that the Energy Trust currently grants $1.5 million per year to community organisations including marae, schools, clubs, preschools and district councils. It has returned more than $30 million to the community for energy related projects since it began in 1994. In addition, it has leveraged millions of dollars of central government and private sector funding for insulation retrofits in close to 4,000 Eastern Bay homes.
The Energy Trust will borrow $20 million dollars in order to purchase the shares. Mr Lewell said that the increased earnings from Horizon would be used to pay back the loan and increase community grants.
Source: Eastern Bay of Plenty Energy Trust