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Eastland Group lifts profit

NZN 8/06/2016 Jonathan Underhill

Eastland Group's annual profit has risen by 7.8 per cent, allowing it to pay a bigger dividend and plan for increased investments.

Profit for the community trust-owned company that runs Gisborne's port, airport and electricity distribution businesses, rose to a record $15.2 million for the year ended March 31, from $14.1m a year earlier, it said.

Eastland is owned by Eastland Community Trust and its operations include Eastland Port, Gisborne Airport and Eastland Network, Eastland Generation and a property development business.

In December it emerged as an 11 per cent shareholder in online electricity retailer Flick Electric after subscribing for about $2m of stock.

It paid the trust a dividend of $5.6m in the latest year, $600,000 more than in 2015.

"The businesses we operate require a large amount of up-front capital investment to earn returns over a long period of time," said chief executive Matt Todd. "Over the next five years Eastland Group plans to invest $123.5 million in local infrastructure."

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