By Tina Morrison
Meteorological Service of New Zealand, the state-owned weather bureau, says its annual profit dropped by almost two thirds because of delays in finalising a new contract with the Ministry of Transport.
MetService's net profit slumped to $910,000 in the 12 months ended June 30, from $2.6 million a year earlier, as revenue was little changed at $46M from $45.7M.
Excluding the MoT contract, annual commercial revenue increased 7.2 percent, it said
The MoT's $18.6M annual contract for New Zealand public good weather warning and forecast services, which also extends beyond New Zealand boundaries down to the Ross Sea ice shelf and up to the Pacific Islands, expired on June 30, 2013.
Pending agreement on a new deal, the contract was topped up in the 2014 year by an extra $1.4M, but not in the 2015 year.
A new MoT contract, for an additional $15.9M over the next four years, wasn't inked until the start of the new financial year on July 1.
Some of the extra funds are earmarked for an updated meteorological forecasting system and a new off-site data back-up in Auckland.
MetService wants to reduce reliance on the MoT contract to provide public weather forecasts and warnings by winning more sales outside New Zealand.
To enable investment in international growth markets, the company has said it will pay partial dividends in the 2015 and 2016 financial years, and step up the payment in its 2017 year.
It didn't specify a final dividend in its latest earnings announcement.