Gisborne Holdings Limited (GHL) will this year be making a $1.8m cash distribution to shareholder Gisborne District Council, despite an “extremely challenging” year.
In announcing the dividend at the annual general meeting yesterday, board chairman Rob Telfer put the positive result down to a very strong team coupled with a diverse portfolio which provided resilience, helping the organisation navigate through Covid-19 and its associated lockdowns.
“Our people are our biggest asset and we take tremendous pride in the way the team has adapted to, and navigated through, a testing period of substantial change,” Mr Telfer said.
GHL’s EBITDAR (earnings before interest, tax, amortisation and revaluations) rose 3 percent on the previous year, to $4.6 million.
“We are extremely pleased with this result given there was a nationwide drought, and with Covid forcing the closure of both Gisborne Vehicle Testing Station and the Waikanae TOP 10 Holiday Park for periods.”
Mr Telfer was also pleased the company had managed to keep all staff on and fully-paid during Covid-19.
GHL oversees Tauwhareparae Farms, Gisborne Vehicle Testing and the Waikanae TOP 10 Holiday Park, as well as a portfolio of property, farmland and forest for Gisborne District Council, its shareholder.
GHL chief executive Tracey Johnstone said this year had been a “phenomenal” one for the holiday park.
“We made $1.9m in revenue and that’s a record.
“Considering the park was closed for six weeks during lockdown and 10 of our most popular units were closed for renovations, it really shows how well the park is doing.”
Although profitability had fallen slightly to 11.7 percent return on assets, compared with a forecast 14.5 percent return due to ongoing costs during lockdown, advanced bookings for the remainder of the year were “exceeding all expectations”.
The vehicle testing business posted a $27,000 loss following closure over the Covid-19 lockdown and difficulty filling vacancies due to a national shortage of qualified testing inspectors.
However, director Dave Mullooly said the business now had four inspectors with a fifth starting in November.
GHL had received resource consent to build a new three-bay coin-less carwash at an adjacent section to the testing station. This would help maximise staff efficiency and showed confidence in the business.
Negative biological and forestry asset revaluations, driven by lower year-end commodity prices, meant GHL has posted a net loss for the year of $113,000.
GHL finished the year in a strong balance sheet position, with a 14 percent debt ratio — down from 16.5 percent in the previous year — and a positive cashflow. The $1.8m distribution is in line with 2019 and GHL’s Statement of Intent with the council.
In the past four years, GHL has seen overall asset growth of $30.4m, equating to 32 percent. Total distributions in the same period total $7.8m.
Mr Telfer said the organisation was poised to continue in a positive vein.
“There is a lot in the pipeline to be excited about.
“We have a number of projects in various stages due for completion in 2021 and 2022, together with continued investment in the Holiday Park and farms.”
Work to develop 30 to 35 sections at a planned housing subdivision on Childers Road would start later in the year.
GHL would also complete a strategic review.
Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz congratulated the GHL board on a “wonderful result”.
“I know it’s a big ask as a council to ask you to operate with one foot in the commercial world and one foot in the political world. So, I do want to acknowledge today it’s not always easy and sometimes we struggle with that, but overall you do an excellent job.