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Infratil predicts bumper 2017

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/04/2016 Paul McBeth

Infratil expects it earnings to rise in 2017, helped by its retirement village business and has as much as $1 billion to spend on investments.

Underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation from continuing operations are forecast to be $475 million to $515 million for the year to the end of March 2017, it says.

That's up from the $455m-$465m forecast for 2016. It is due to report its 2016 results next month and is holding a briefing for investors on its outlook and strategy on Wednesday.

Next year's improved forecast reflects gains from its Metlifecare and RetireAustralia investments, it said.

Infratil is on the hunt for new investments, and today said it can deploy between $750m-$1b while staying in its credit metrics. It plans to focus on retirement and renewable energy sectors and its Wellington International Airport holding.

"Public market valuations of some companies in Infratil's sectors do not appear reflective of their underlying value and especially in Australia, companies with attractive assets and weaker values are looking at asset divestment," Infratil said.

"There is also the prospect that market volatility will create investment opportunities for well-capitalised businesses such as Infratil."

The investor is sitting on a large cash reserve after selling its 20 per cent stake in Z Energy and has been looking for new investments, such as its unsuccessful bid for Pacific Hydro.

Infratil said on Wednesday it's looking at Australian and New Zealand technology prospects to build on its existing portfolio.

The company reaffirmed its goal to pay bigger dividends and said it will consider capital management options if investment opportunities take longer to pan out, or if it sells more assets.

The shares last traded at $3.375 and have increased 3.1 per cent so far this year.

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