dave November 2, 2016 No Comments

KiwiRail faces headwind

kiwirail-faces-headwindKiwiRail’s leadership has warned the business faces a potential dip in revenue in 2017 due to “challenging” economic headwinds, at its recent annual public meeting in Wellington.

Addresses from KiwiRail chairperson John Spencer and chief executive Peter Reidy highlight those challenges as including the decline of such cargoes as coal, excess capacity on Cook Strait and the emergence of additional competition from larger-sized trucks.

Positives were noted as a potential recovery of coal prices, an increase in passenger volumes alone on Cook Strait and strong benefits from increased forestry harvesting.

In the most recent financial year, KiwiRail exceeded one of its key Statement of Corporate Intent (SCI) targets for the first time in delivering an underlying operating surplus of $86 million (excluding $10 million in one-off restructuring and Wellington Metro tender costs). However, its comparable operating revenue declined 3.7% to $694 million and was $9 million below the SCI target.

Taking positive strides to de-risk its business and find new operational efficiencies and cost-savings, KiwiRail’s leadership emphasises that its “above rail” operation is cash positive.

Meet Port Otago’s new CEO

portotagonewceoPort Otago’s impressively-advanced leadership succession process has now concluded, with current Silver Fern Farms chief operating officer Kevin Winders confirmed as its chief executive designate.

Described as having a strong financial and strategic skill set as well as good understanding of shipping though involvement with Kotahi, Mr Winders is to join the port company in February and ultimately succeed current chief executive Geoff Plunket at the end of 2017.

Port Otago chairperson David Faulkner says the appointment culminated a three-month recruitment process, which followed Mr Plunket recently announcing he was to retire from the position he has held since 2004.
“There were a number of very strong candidates and Kevin ticked all the boxes,” says Mr Faulkner.

Also having previous roles with PGG Wrightson, Contact Energy and KPMG, Mr Winders comments: “I am looking forward to the challenge of the new role and being part of the team to deliver the Next Generation infrastructural programme.”

Describing as “an honour and a privilege” what will be about 30 years’ involvement with the port at the end of 2017, Mr Plunket says he has no plans to move onto the board.

“A new management team needs the opportunity to run the business in the way they think is appropriate and that may be different to how I’ve done it,” he says.