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Whitestone Contracting Ltd may have “moved from a debt-free position for the first time” but it remains financially sound, Waitaki district councillors heard on Thursday.

Councillors thumbed through the Waitaki District Council-controlled organisation’s half-yearly report at a meeting of the full council, held via video link.

The document reported an after-tax profit of $284,986.

That figure was down from the $401,240 reported for the same period last year, which board chairman Michael de Buyzer, who did not present the report in person, said in his review could be attributed to two key factors: a drop in the number of contracts being offered and “more latterly a highly competitive market”.

The company’s financial expenditure of $31,561, up from $5663, was queried by Cr Jim Hopkins.

Cr Colin Wollstein informed the meeting that was a result of costs associated with the council dividend and investment in machinery which had in turn “moved the company from a debt-free position to where they owe a million dollars.”

It was the first time the company, established in 1991, had been in that position, he said.

Whitestone’s financial report for the period showed its plant, property and equipment assets were valued at $15million, up from $12.5million last year.

The company expected to pay an annual dividend to the council of $903,993 for the 2018-19 financial year by the end of June.

It also underwent a property revaluation in July, which boosted its property holdings buy $892,223.

Otago Daily Times