Story image

Sue Sheldon steps down as Chorus chair, Hartley to be acting chair

19 Mar 2015

Sue Sheldon is standing down as chair of Chorus at the end of the month and the role will be filled by Jon Hartley on an interim basis.

She leaves on March 31.

A statement from the company paid tribute to the work she has done when Chorus was demerged from Telecom and she paid tribute to the executive team led by Mark Ratcliffe. Telecom was subsequently renamed Spark.

Sheldon was a director of Telecom and was appointed chair of Chorus in August 2011 prior to it being spun off from Telecom. She is also chair of Freightways and Paymark, an independent director of Contact Energy and vice chair of Global Women.

"I believe the industry is now in a strong structural position to deliver to consumers and investors alike. So it is with a great sense of satisfaction that I look forward to meeting other challenges outside of the telecommunications sector," she said.

Last month Ratcliffe told analysts the company will look to restart dividend payments once the Commerce Commission makes its final decision setting the company's copper line price in September, subject to any legal challenges the determination might face.

Chorus suspended dividends when it renegotiated the terms of Crown funding for the ultrafast broadband fibre network when there was regulatory uncertainty over the copper access prices. The company clamped down on spending while remaining within its banking covenants.

The company won a small reprieve in the Commerce Commission's draft determination in its final pricing principle to set the charge on the company's regulated copper network, with a smaller reduction flagged than in the regulator's earlier decision. That's still being disputed by Chorus's customers, and the commission has yet to decide whether or not to backdate pricing to the Dec. 1 date when cheaper pricing was legislated to come into effect.

Analysts have said the size of any dividend will depend on backdating.

Chorus posted net profit of $64 million, or 14 cents per share, in the six months ended Dec. 31, down from $78 million, or 17 cents, a year earlier. That was in line with Forsyth Barr's estimate for a profit of $64 million and ahead of First NZ Capital's forecast for $58 million.

The company narrowed its forecast cost for the ultrafast broadband network to between $1.75 billion and $1.8 billion form a previous range of between $1.7 billion and $1.9 billion after negotiating new deployment contracts with Visionstream and Downer, covering about 90 percent of its rollout areas.

Total fixed lines rose 5,000 to 1.78 million in the half, with declines in its baseband copper line connections offset by gains in naked basic/enhanced unbundled bitstream access (UBA)/ naked very fast digital subscriber line (VDSL) and fibre connections.

The shares last traded at $2.885 and have gained 8.5 percent this year. The stock is rated an average 'hold' based on eight analyst recommendations compiled by Reuters, with a median price target of $2.80.

50 million tonnes of e-waste: IT faces sustainability challenges
“Through This is IT, we want to help people better understand the problem of today’s linear “take, make, dispose” thinking around IT products and its effects like e-waste, pollution and climate change."
Vocus & Vodafone unbundle NZ's fibre network
“Unbundling fibre will provide retail service providers with a flexible future-proofed platform regardless of what tomorrow brings."
IDC: A/NZ second highest APAC IoT spenders per capita
New IDC forecast expects the Internet of Things spending in Asia/Pacific excluding Japan to reach US$381.8 Billion by 2022.
Xero launches new data capture product in NZ
“Data automation is the fastest growing app category on the Xero app marketplace so we know there is a hunger for these types of tools."
Security flaw in Xiaomi electric scooters could have deadly consequences
An attacker could target a rider, and then cause the scooter to suddenly brake or accelerate.
Four ways the technology landscape will change in 2019
Until now, organisations have only spoken about innovative technologies somewhat theoretically. This has left people without a solid understanding of how they will ultimately manifest in our work and personal lives.
IDC: Top 10 trends for NZ’s digital transformation
The CDO title is declining, 40% of us will be working with bots, the Net Promoter Score will be key to success, and more.
Kiwi partner named in HubSpot’s global top five
Hype & Dexter is an Auckland-based agency that specialises in providing organisations with marketing automation solutions.