Mark Binns, who is leading Fletcher Building’s efforts to rebuild Christchurch as head of its infrastructure division, has been named as chief executive of state-owned Meridian Energy, one of four state owned enterprises set to be partially floated on the sharemarket if the National Party is re-elected in November 26's election.
Binns, currently CEO of Fletcher’s biggest division, infrastructure, replaces Tim Lusk, who was a director and executive of Meridian, according to a statement from Meridian. He is a 22-year veteran of the Fletcher group, predating the split that created Fletcher Building, now the nation’s biggest listed company, from Fletcher Challenge. Fletcher Building CEO Jonathan Ling said Binns will leave in December.
No replacement has been named yet. Binns has overseen Fletcher projects including the Waterview motorway connection in West Auckland, development of Eden Park, SkyCity Entertainment Group, Te Papa and the Manapouri tunnel.
Treasury currently has investment bankers from First NZ Capital working on a scoping study of Meridian ahead of a likely sale of up to 49% of Meridian's shares on the stock market.
Shares of Fletcher were last at NZ$7.55 and have edged up 1.2% this year. The stock is rated ‘outperform’ based on the consensus of 10 recommendations compiled by Reuters.
Meridian reported a 13% decline in profit to NZ$219.0 million in the year ended June 30, including a NZ$28.1 million settlement from its dispute with Rio Tinto over lost production at the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter in 2008. The utility grew its customer base 7% in competitive conditions while revenue was little changed at NZ$2.05 billion.