New Zealand’s hotly anticipated earnings season kicked off today with electricity and gas supplier Contact Energy the first company to announce its full-year results to the expectant market.

The electricity company revealed to shareholders that its annual profit had dipped 2.6% in the 12 months ended June 30 compared to the previous period, with net profit falling to $182 million – down from $187m in the June 2021 year.

Contact also announced it would invest $300 million in a new 51.4 megawatt (MW) geothermal power station at Te Huka near Taupō, due online from late 2024. 

This follows the supplier’s plan for a geothermal power station at nearby Tauhara. Contact has signed long-term power purchase agreements for the Tauhara power station, including a 15-year contract to supply Genesis Energy with up to 62.5MW – 37% of the new station's total output.

Contact’s shares pulled NZ’s market up higher today, up 2.1% to $7.87 when the market opened this morning and ending the day 1.4% to $7.82 – with $8.1m traded.

Peter McIntyre, an investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners, said Contact’s earnings were a “reasonable result” – but the real news was around the $300m investment into the new geothermal power station.

The S&P/NZX 50 index rose 29.4 points, or 0.25%, to 11,789.03. Turnover on the main board was an incredibly light $64.2m.

Mercury Energy's earnings are out tomorrow and McIntyre said the results would be interesting as the energy company had enjoyed a “strong run-up” to earnings seasons and the market was expecting good numbers from it.

Mercury climbed 0.6% to $6.54 by the end of the day.

Others gain

Other gainers of the day were healthcare manufacturer Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, which rose 2.5% to $21.37 and Air NZ, which jumped 3% to 69 cents by close.

Carpet manufacturer Bremworth also had a good day on the index and was up 7.6% to 57 cents.

On the other side of the coin, My Food Bag told the NZX this morning that inflation and a slowing economy have caused customers to downgrade to its cheaper meal-kit options, which has lowered the meal-kit company’s earnings over the past four months. 

It expected annual earnings to be lower than the year before, despite managing cost pressures with price increases and ingredient substitution.

McIntyre said My Food Bag’s warning to investors “wasn’t unexpected” considering the inflationary environment the company was working around.

“This has maybe sent a signal to some parts of the market as well around consumer discretionary [spending],” he said.

My Food Bag shares plummeted 8.8% near midday and finished the day down 8% to 74 cents.

Other decliners of the day were real-estate investment company Property For Industry and telecommunications firm Spark.

Spark fell 1.1% to $5.08 and Property For Industry declined 1.1% to $1.73.

Property for Industry announced it had appointed Carolyn Steele to its board as a non-executive director effective from Aug 22.

Metal supplier Vulcan Steel was also down 1.2% to $9.40 today after it told the market today that 42.6m shares will come out of escrow on Aug 24.

The 42.6m shares, which amount to 32.4% of the company, were owned by non-executive shareholders before the company’s A$371.6 million float last year.

Other stocks that dragged down the index today were pharmaceutical wholesaler Ebos Group, which was down 1.2% to $38.53 and aged-care provider Ryman Healthcare, which fell 0.2% to $9.40.

On the currency front, the NZ dollar was sitting at 64.45 US cents by the end of the day, up from 64.29 US cents on Friday.