Chief Executive's Review

Chief Executive

In my review last year, I noted that the Group could not expect to be immune to the effects of current economic and capital market circumstances. Those circumstances have had a major impact on the Group in the year and in the period since year-end. The reduced capacity and lower risk tolerance in the private equity markets, the impact of demand reduction and lower natural gas prices on utility procurement strategies, the macroeconomic impact on waste volumes and a reduced momentum in the policy environment for supporting renewables, have required the Group to be flexible and assertive in addressing these challenges.

 

The Group has taken short term tactical actions in response to these circumstances on a business by business basis, including organisational restructurings and selected asset disposals. As a result we have maintained the strength and stability of the Group and its constituent businesses. The challenge for the Group in the coming year will be to maintain and enhance that stability, while continuing to invest prudently, so that we will be well positioned to benefit from future economic recovery.

 

Notwithstanding the short term macroeconomic difficulties facing our businesses, NTR’s position as a diversified renewable energy and sustainable waste management Group continued to be underpinned by the many development and financing milestones which the Group has achieved since I reported to you last year. The major milestones are set out in the Chairman’s Statement on pages 4 to 7 of this Annual Report.

 

These milestones clearly demonstrate how the Group has, and continues to, respond decisively to rapidly changing circumstances. They also demonstrate the level of institutional knowledge and expertise in the Renewable Energy and Sustainable Waste Management sectors that has been created within the Group in recent years. This expertise represents a key component of NTR’s value proposition.

 

Our medium term view for both the Renewable Energy and Sustainable Waste Management sectors remains very positive. The macro factors of Climate Change, Security of Energy Supply and Resource Depletion remain real and relevant and will inevitably drive demand in the clean energy and recycling sectors, thereby supporting the growth in value of our strategically well positioned businesses in these sectors.

 

Organisation
While always maintaining a clear strategic perspective, the challenges of the past 18 months have been addressed by management teams across all the Group businesses in an assertive, yet measured way. This is both a tribute to the strength and resilience of our management teams and tangible evidence of the value of the investment we have made in these teams in recent years.

 

Financing
It is the Group’s policy to maintain its overall financial strength and robustness. This is achieved through a combination of the prudent management of existing financial and business resources, the maintenance of flexibility in the plans of its businesses, successful third party financings and Group portfolio and asset management.

 

Each of our businesses maintain flexibility in their growth and development plans, consistent with the availability of appropriate funding. The Group and its businesses maintain a long term perspective in relation to financing and growth plans and remain focused at all times on the prudent management of all available funding resources.

 

Notwithstanding challenging prevailing financing conditions in the year ended 31 March 2010 and in the period since, the Group achieved a number of successful financing milestones, including the raising of US$240 million of project debt financing and US$53 million of tax equity financing by its wind business, Wind Capital Group, and the securing by Greenstar Ireland of a €120 million corporate debt facility. In addition, Green Plains Renewable Energy (NASDAQ: GPRE) successfully raised US$79 million in primary equity during the financial year, and more recently completed an additional US$90 million financing through a successful convertible debt issuance. If fully converted, the Group’s equity interest in GPRE would be reduced to 26%.

 

Group cash resources at 31 March 2010 amounted to €64.7 million and in addition the Group had a further €23.1 million held in escrow and in subsidiaries held for sale. Since the year end, the Group announced the successful sale of Greenstar UK and certain assets within our Roads division, which will realise net proceeds to the Group of €125 million.

 

NTR continues to maintain a robust balance sheet and funding position and will continue to work closely with its businesses and financing partners to ensure long term
funding stability.

 

Outlook
In the light of prevailing economic conditions, we believe the actions which we have taken have created a stable platform for the Group and its businesses.

 

We are confident that, as we continue to evolve as a diversified renewable energy and sustainable waste management Group, this platform will provide a basis from which the Group can deliver growth in shareholder value over the medium term.

 

Jim Barry
Chief Executive

Jim Barry - Chief Executive

Jim Barry

Chief Executive