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30/05/2019 - General News

From Giant Wind Turbines to Electric Planes - Michael Liebreich Public Lecture

In what’s been termed the “three-third world”, one third of global electricity in 2040 will be generated by wind and solar, one third of the vehicles on the road will be electric and the world’s economy will be one third more energy efficient.


But how do we transition to this future? What sort of policy settings will be required? And how will new initiatives like the Zero Carbon Bill help New Zealand’s contribution towards these goals?

International renewable energy and green finance expert Michael Liebreich will address these questions - and many more - in a public lecture at Victoria University of Wellington. He will then be joined by the University’s Chair in Sustainable Energy Systems Professor Alan Brent for a question-and-answer session.

This event is hosted by Victoria University of Wellington and sponsored by Z Energy. 

Click below for more details and to register for the event:

Victoria-University-Public-Lecture-with-Clean-Energy-Expert-Michael-Liebreich.pdf

 

 

 

26/03/2019 - Sustainability news

Forestry offsets a good interim solution

The recent report released by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (Farms, forests and fossil fuels: The next great landscape transformation) provides constructive challenge and food for thought on how New Zealand sets targets and climate policy.

Z’s Sustainability Manager, Gerri Ward, agrees that the burning of fossil fuels needs to dramatically reduce by the second half of the century.

“Z has always known that we cannot rely on offsetting alone to move to a Zero Carbon future.

“The use of fossil fuels needs to, at the very least, reduce dramatically by 2050. This is entirely consistent with our pledge as a founding member of the Climate Leaders Coalition, with Z’s own scenario planning work, and with the Paris Agreement that New Zealand is a part of.

“This is why we have been investing in alternative, cleaner fuels and alternative mobility technologies, with a deliberate strategy on how we prepare for a low carbon future.

“In the meantime, we can’t afford to do nothing about our current emissions.

“Trees sequester carbon, which is why we have, and will continue to invest in permanent forestry as a way to offset Z’s emissions as well as the emissions from the products we sell,” said Gerri.  

Z says that a clear pathway and policy certainty, including transitional policies, will be crucial to giving companies the ability to plan for a Zero Carbon future, while also undertaking immediate mitigation and transition activities.

“We all know that time is running out if we want to keep global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius – we can’t afford to wait for a magic future date to take action.

“We hope to continue to engage constructively with policymakers and be a part of the solution when it comes to transitioning New Zealand to a low carbon economy,” said Gerri.

 

14/03/2019 - General News

Z Energy, Contact Energy, Genesis Energy and Air New Zealand join forces in carbon afforestation partnership

Air New Zealand, Contact Energy, Genesis Energy and Z Energy have today announced the formation of Dryland Carbon LLP (Drylandcarbon), a limited liability partnership that will see the four companies invest in the establishment of a geographically diversified forest portfolio to sequester carbon.

Drylandcarbon will target the purchase and licensing of marginal land suited to afforestation to establish a forest portfolio predominantly comprising permanent forests, with some production forests. The primary objective is to produce a stable supply of forestry-generated NZU carbon credits, but the initiative will also expand New Zealand’s national forest estate. These credits will support the partners to meet their annual requirements under the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.

Drylandcarbon will be managed by Lewis Tucker & Co who will provide management services throughout the life of the partnership. Air New Zealand, Contact Energy, Genesis Energy and Z Energy will not have day-to-day involvement in the running of the business.

Drylandcarbon CEO, Anthony (Ant) Beverley, says the partnership is a terrific example of Kiwi companies coming together for a greater good, and that climate change mitigation and commercial benefit are not mutually exclusive.

“The partnership intends making a serious contribution to the acceleration of afforestation and planting in New Zealand, at a time when carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation are becoming increasingly important to all of us. Drylandcarbon’s afforestation plans are closely aligned to a number of key Government objectives and will deliver a range of environmental and sustainable development benefits to our regions, while also delivering commercial benefit to the four partners over time.

“The portfolio will be initially established with high sequestration capacity exotic species, however,
the majority is expected to consist of permanent forests. The intention is to transition these permanent forests to native forests over the long term.

“Given the potential size of the portfolio, the partnership is well placed to make a real contribution to New Zealand’s broader emission reduction objectives. In targeting some of the more remote and difficult marginal land, Drylandcarbon also anticipates its activities can support improved environmental outcomes in areas needing land use change.”

Drylandcarbon is currently engaging with both farming and regional communities around the establishment of carbon forests on private land.

 

01/11/2018 - General News

High oil price, intense price competition and lower margins

Half year financial result and dividend

Z Energy (NZX: ZEL) today announced its earnings and net profit for the six months to 30 September 2018.

Z reports its earnings on an historic cost as well as replacement costs basis. Statutory financial statements are reported on an historic cost basis in accordance with NZ-GAAP, however replacement cost accounting is the globally-used non-GAAP industry standard to measure financial performance.[1]  

Replacement cost accounting is the financial measure that Z is valued at by the share market, that Z’s debt covenants are calculated on, that management is incentivised by, and that the Government track in their weekly margin monitoring.

Historical cost net profit after tax (HC NPAT) was $139m, up 74% from $80m in the prior corresponding period (PCP). This result was driven by the sharp increase in the underlying oil price over the period and the decline of the New Zealand dollar against the US dollar.

Z reported replacement cost earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation (RC EBITDAF) of $175m, down 21% from $221m in the first half of last financial year.

Z’s replacement cost net profit after tax (RC NPAT) was $72m, down 31% from $105m in the PCP. Total marketing volume for the half year was 1,969 million litres, flat compared to the PCP. The above RC NPAT is equivalent to 3.7 cents per litre, down from 5.3 cents per litre in the first half of last financial year. Z’s RC fuel unit margin[2] of 15.5 cents per litre was down on the PCP of 17.0 cents per litre.

The Board of Z has declared a fully imputed interim dividend of 12.5 cents per share, up 20% from 10.4 cents per share compared to the PCP. The interim dividend will be paid on 11 December 2018.

Drivers of the result and of full year RC EBITDAF guidance

Commenting on the results, Z Chief Executive Mike Bennetts said that the operating environment for the first half of FY19 was the most challenging experienced in the eight and a half years of Z.

“During this period, US dollar crude prices increased by 25%, the NZD/USD exchange rate depreciated by 9%, and fuel taxes nationally and regionally increased. Combined, these factors have led to record high prices at the pump. These sustained high prices have resulted in a decrease in retail demand,” said Mike.

Competition has intensified in both the North and South Island, particularly on price, as customers seek out bargains in the high price environment.

“Margins typically come under pressure when crude prices rise steeply, as prices at the pump lag behind the increases in the price of crude oil, and customers are sensitive to new, higher price points,” said Mike.

In addition, results were negatively impacted by the extended refinery shutdown resulting in lost gross refining margin (GRM). The purchase of unplanned product imports to cover for the extended shutdown also had a negative impact on fuel margin.

“Given the volatility in crude prices and exchange rates, we are taking a cautious view on the second half of the financial year and reducing our full year RC EBITDAF guidance to $400 million to $435 million,” continued Mike.

Commerce Commission market study

Record high fuel prices, driven by high crude oil prices, the weaker exchange rate and additional tax, have once again thrust our industry and Z, into the political and media spotlight.

Mike acknowledged the impact that fuel prices have on customers, from households to businesses.  

“Because fuel has such a big impact on household budgets and many businesses, customers want to know that they are at least paying a fair price because the market is competitive.  We welcome a Commerce Commission market study as we believe that it is the most sensible and transparent way to give customers the assurance they need. It’s important to have an objective agency who can compel all industry participants to provide relevant data and have people with the skills and knowledge to interpret the data and investigate the market,” said Mike.

“Z cooperated fully with the MBIE led market study in 2017, and we will cooperate fully with any Commerce Commission market study. We will continue to point to the facts; our books are open and financial returns are not excessive given the complexity of the business and the capital employed, competition is intense and our returns are consistent with similar companies around the world,” said Mike.

Z’s strategy of optimising the asset base and boosting operating efficiency continues to pay off

Z has made considerable progress in continuing to deliver operating efficiencies throughout the business.

“Despite the difficult operating environment, we have continued to make progress on our strategy for a more productive core business,” said Mike.

“In the first half we delivered on our refinery optimisation strategy, we brought back in-house operational control of the remaining five fuel storage terminals (three were completed at the end of FY18) and simplified our bulk fuel distribution into a new long-term contract with a haulage partner.  These projects, plus others announced in our Strategy 3.0 program, are forecasted to contribute $16-18m of EBITDAF within the year.

On 1 September Z commenced fuel supply to the Foodstuffs Group, the co-operative for the New World and PAK’N SAVE stores.

Mike said that he was proud of the Z team for flawlessly executing a seamless transition.

“There are very few deals out there in the New Zealand market that represent such a structural shift in volumes. Z is now supplying approximately 150 million litres annually to the Foodstuffs Group supermarket service stations and is the redemption outlet for their fuel dockets.  This will grow Z’s supply chain volumes and further improve our economies of scale,” he said.

Investment in Flick Electric

On 1 September, Z invested $46m to acquire a 70% stake in Flick Electric. Flick is an electricity retailer and disruptor that allows its customers the choice between access to the spot price of the New Zealand wholesale electricity market or low fixed prices.

Commenting on the investment, Mike said that Flick fits into Z’s long-term view of the New Zealand energy market, providing access to the retail electricity market, access to a new form of energy and strong digital capability.

“Although Z’s ownership of Flick Electric is a majority, we intend for it to operate as a subsidiary company outside of Z’s operations, so that it can keep doing what it does best.  We will continue to support the Flick management team to grow the business towards EBITDAF profitability in FY21.”

Capital structure, debt reduction and returns to shareholders

Z remains committed to debt reduction and increasing returns to shareholders over the next decade. Z believes it is prudent to reduce its overall debt position and maintain a strong, investment-like grade balance sheet because of the uncertainty around the price of crude oil.

“At the end of last financial year, we had reduced our debt leverage, defined as debt to RC EBITDAF, to 2.1x. In the first half of FY19 debt to RC EBITDAF has increased to 2.4x through a combination of reduced earnings and the investment in Flick. Z remains committed to deleveraging to around 1.6x debt to RC EBITDAF by the end of FY21.

“This year sees the first implementation of our new dividend policy of ‘better with you than us’. While we acknowledge the current challenging trading conditions have reduced the size of the dividend from original guidance, the change in dividend policy reinforces our commitment to efficiently return cash to shareholders.

Second half outlook and priorities

Given the volatility of the global commodity markets and the recent movements of the New Zealand dollar, Z is not depending on a drop in crude prices or improving FX rates to support our second half performance.

Commenting on the priorities for the rest of the year, Mike said:

“Our focus for the next six months is simple, we must increase momentum by prioritising business as usual activities and projects that directly improve customer experience and we will focus our productivity work on fewer, higher value actions that create more meaningful bang for buck.”

A conference call for media and investors will be held at 10am on Thursday 1 November 2018. Dial in details can be found at https://investor-centre.z.co.nz/investor-centre/assets/Uploads/20181009-NZX-results-date-announcement.pdf

 

 


[1] Z prepares its statutory financial statements on an historic cost basis in accordance with NZIFRS. Earnings prepared on this basis are subject to volatility due to changes in oil prices and exchange rates and is therefore not a dependable measure of business performance or profitability. Replacement cost earnings do not reflect this volatility to such an extent as the cost of the stock sold is accounted for as its replacement cost at the time of its sale. Z’s management focuses on the industry standard replacement cost operating metrics, which it considers a better reflection of the underlying performance of the company.

 

[2] This is the margin on fuel sold before operating costs and corporate tax are accounted for.   

 

Reconciliation HC to RC

 

Investors:         Matt Hardwick             027 787 4688

Media:             Sheena Thomas           027 551 2589

08/10/2018 - General News

Z supports market study legislation

Z Energy is pleased to hear that the Government will expedite the passing of legislation to enable a fuel market study to occur sooner rather than later.

Z Chief Executive Mike Bennetts acknowledged that consumers feel hard hit by fuel prices and that they are seeking assurance. 

“Consumers are seeking assurance that prices are fair and the market is competitive and we believe that a Commerce Commission market study is the most sensible way forward. It’s important to have an objective agency who can compel data, with people who have the skills and knowledge to interpret that data and investigate the market fully,” said Mike. 

Z disputes that prices are unjustifiably high, and while margins have increased from an unsustainable level in 2008 which saw fuel majors exit New Zealand, it has not increased at the level suggested.

Current pump prices have been driven up by increasing crude oil costs, a weakening exchange rate and additional taxes, not Z’s profit margin.

“As a listed company, Z will release its half year financials in early November. We look forward to sharing an audited, exact view of our profits with the public then.

“Z believes the fuel market is highly competitive, but the way to satisfactorily demonstrate this and give consumers the confidence they need is to have the level of transparency that a market study can bring,” said Mike.

“Z cooperated fully with the MBIE led market study, and we will cooperate fully with the Commerce Commission,” said Mike.

 

 

Media contact: Sheena Thomas 027 551 2589

26/09/2018 - General News

Customer update on 2017 data breach issue

Z Energy is sharing the findings of a further investigation into the 2017 unauthorised access of the Z Card Online system with customers.

In November 2017, Z was contacted by an anonymous third party who alerted us to a vulnerability with Z Card Online, the online system used by Z Card customers to manage their fuel cards. When a fix was unsuccessful, Z disabled access to the system in December 2017 and worked with security experts to review the system and the security of customer data within in.

Z launched a new online system for customers to use in March 2018, which has been tested repeatedly to ensure customer data is as secure as it can be.

Z’s Chief Executive, Mike Bennetts, apologised for the 2017 security vulnerability, the inconvenience and any worry caused.

“We’re sorry for any concern caused by this issue, that we didn’t keep your data completely private like we are committed to, and the inconvenience of taking the platform offline for almost three months.

“We also acknowledge that some customers would have preferred to have had more information about the issue when we found out about it. Now that we have the findings from our further investigation into what exactly may have been accessed in the old system, we’re committed to fully sharing this information with customers and answering any questions customers may have,” said Mike.

Z has shared the information from this forensic analysis with its Z card customers by phone or email as part of a commitment to communicating clearly with customers about issues relating to their personal data.

Of approximately 30,000 Z Card customers, the investigation has identified that over the prior two-year period, there were 62 customers whose data was viewed by an unauthorised person prior to the site being taken offline in December 2017.                          

The investigation confirms that the type of data accessed was information such as first name, last name, address, email address, phone number, the Z outlets where card holders make purchases and the broad nature of those purchases.

Investigators found no evidence of unusual card activity including ordering cards or amending card orders, and it was not possible for the person who illegally accessed the data to view any payment information such as bank details.

All of the 62 customers have been contacted in person by Z.

Z has taken steps to ensure security of customer data across all its online customer facing systems.

“Like all organisations using online channels to improve the customer experience, we face an ever-changing landscape of cyber-security threats. However, we have learned from this experience and we’re confident that our cyber-security risks are well managed.

“We are committed to protecting the privacy and security of the information customers entrust us with,” said Mike.

If you are a Z card customer, and have not received any communications from Z recently, please contact Z on 0800 474 355.

 

Media contact: Sheena Thomas 027 551 2589

 

01/09/2018 - General News

Kiwi brands unite to bring fuel discounts to customers

Customers shopping at two of the most popular Kiwi supermarket brands can now earn fuel discounts for Z Energy service stations while they shop.

From today, Z Energy becomes Foodstuffs (NZ) Limited’s exclusive nationwide fuel partner.

Customers will now be able to use the fuel discounts printed on their New World and PAK’nSAVE dockets at the more than 200 Z branded service stations around the country, instead of the supermarkets’ previous partner, Mobil.

The partnership will also see Z Energy supplying fuel to the country’s 53 New World and PAK'nSAVE branded fuel sites.

Jane and Steve

Z Energy’s General Manager Marketing, Jane Anthony, and Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd Managing Director, Steve Anderson, celebrate their Kiwi brands uniting to bring fuel discounts to customers.

 

Z’s General Manager of Marketing, Jane Anthony, says the supermarket fuel vouchers are an effective way for customers to save money on fuel, simply by doing their usual grocery shopping.

“Many customers have told us fuel discounts are really important, especially since the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax came into force in July and prices went up. That’s why we’re so pleased people who like using supermarket fuel vouchers can now come to Z.”

“Z has the country’s largest network of service stations, which means customers using supermarket fuel vouchers now have more service station and fuel site locations to choose from and they get to come to a Kiwi company to save on fuel,” says Jane.

Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd Managing Director, Steve Anderson, says the Co-operative looks forward to continuing to reward its customers with fuel discounts at its New World and PAK'nSAVE branded fuel sites and now Z service stations too.

“Our customers enjoy earning fuel discounts as they shop. By uniting with Z, another strong Kiwi brand, our customers will not only keep earning great fuel deals but will also get the chance to enjoy the wider Z retail and customer service experience around the country.”

“With Spring arriving today, and the warmer weather likely to see more Kiwis heading out on the roads exploring, we know that fuel discounts are more relevant than ever to customers.”

“New World and Z will stay part of the Fly Buys and Air New Zealand Airpoints loyalty programs, ensuring customers have a selection of loyalty programmes to choose from for earning rewards through grocery and fuel purchases,” says Steve.

Foodstuffs and Z are sharing detailed information on the change directly with customers. To find more details on the supermarket fuel voucher discounts, go to http://www.fuelup.co.nz

 

ENDS

 

 

 

27/08/2018 - General News

Z Energy invests in Flick Electric

Z Energy announced today an investment of $46 million to acquire a 70.1% shareholding in Flick Electric, the Wellington based retail electricity supplier that was the first power company in the country to offer customers access to the wholesale price of electricity.

Steve and Mike Flick

The investment brings together an electricity industry disruptor and New Zealand’s largest transport energy company.

Z’s Chief Executive, Mike Bennetts, said that the companies will be focused on maximising the innovation potential of the energy sector as it transitions to a lower carbon future.

“We view this as a partnership that brings together Flick’s start-up mentality, differentiated offer, technology and talent, along with Z’s innovation and marketing capability, operational scale and resources,” said Mike.

Flick’s CEO, Steve O’Connor, says that Z’s investment will help Flick realise its potential.

“Over the past four years we’ve proven there’s an appetite for a new engagement model in energy retail, which has entrenched our vision to bring disruptive energy technologies to as many people as possible. This partnership, and the expertise and capital it brings to Flick, will allow us to do more, faster, and have a greater impact on New Zealanders’ lives.”

The partnership with Flick is also in line with Z’s commitment to a lower carbon New Zealand.

“This is another step towards the long-term sustainability of Z, and the role we play in a lower carbon transport future,” said Mike.

“Our investment in Flick is part of Z’s “What is Next” strategy and Capital Management plan as disclosed in our Investor Day materials in September 2017. We are continuously assessing options to invest and extend into adjacencies in one of our three preferred market spaces – future fuels, mobility and the last mile. Where it makes commercial sense to do so, you should expect Z to take action,” he said.  

Flick Electric is a privately held company that reported revenues of $43.4 million for the financial year ended 31 March 2018.

Z Energy will pay an initial consideration of $15.6 million for 22% of Flick in new issued capital and an additional $30.4 million for the purchase of an additional 48.1% of existing shares to take the total shareholding to 70.1%. In the next quarter the governance of Flick will change to reflect Z’s majority shareholding position.

Recognizing that two of Z’s Directors, Mark Cross and Steve Reindler, were conflicted, the governance of this transaction was entirely managed by a Board Committee comprising of Z’s other Directors. Z understands both directors will be considering their positions in the conflicted companies.

Z Energy will use existing credit facilities to fund the investment and the transaction will not impact current FY19 earnings or dividend guidance. Z Energy expects the investment in Flick Electric to be earnings accretive from FY21 onwards.

Ends

Investor contact: Matt Hardwick - +64 27 787 4688

Media contact: Sheena Thomas - +64 27 551 2589


Q+A with Mike and Steve will be held on Z’s Facebook page at 10 am Monday 27 August.

 

10/08/2018 - Sustainability news

Z supports the phase-out of plastic bags in New Zealand

Z supports the government’s plan to phase out single-use plastic shopping bags, and encourages New Zealanders to provide their views on ways to reduce these bags entering the environment.

Z phased out single-use customer plastic bags from its stores in June this year. Z said that customers have been overwhelmingly supportive of Z’s stance in eliminating plastic bags and reducing the number of single-use plastic bags entering the waste stream from 2.5 million per year, to zero.

“We learned a lot through this process,” said Z’s Sustainability Manager, Gerri Ward.

“The key things we learned from our experience was to give it time, and communicate with customers on how to adjust to the new reality.

“Many of our customers have been really enthusiastic about the change, and have agreed that people just need to get used to a new reality – like New Zealanders did with the introduction of compulsory bike helmets, or the ban on smoking inside,” she said.

The Ministry for the Environment has published a consultation document on the proposed mandatory phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags, and people have until Friday 14 September to share their views.

This includes options for the date the phase-out is to be complete by, what bags should be included, and how best to help people with the transition.

“We need to think carefully about the impact of replacements. The worst-case scenario would be that we replace what we’ve got with unsubstantiated “biodegradable” or “compostable” imports that are often no less bad for the environment,” said Gerri.

“Have your say and together let’s keep Aotearoa beautiful,” she said.

To have your say visit www.mfe.govt.nz.

19/07/2018 - Submissions and Presentations

Zero Carbon Bill Submission

Z’s submission on the Zero Carbon Bill is focused on predictable, effective, urgent policy certainty that provides business with investment confidence, and establishes a meaningful policy response in order to meet New Zealand’s agreed climate target. Z encourages the New Zealand government to set an ambitious pathway so all parties – business, government, and society - can move towards a common, and meaningful goal. 

Z's full submission can be found here: 

Z Energy Zero Carbon Bill submission

 

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