Chorus has posted its financial results for the first half of its 2023 financial year, with lower earnings and after tax profit.
The network infrastructure wholesaler reported operating revenue of $487 million for the HY23, up from $483 million in the same period the year before.
Deducting one-off revenue and expense gains Chorus earnt $342 million in the six months ended December 31, 2022, up from the HY22 figure of $322 million.
However, Chorus' after tax profit was down from $42 million in the HY22 to just $9 million.
Chorus said the after tax profit decrease was due to increasing interest rates, and one-off costs associated with the refinancing of a large tranche of debt.
For its full financial year 2023, Chorus has increased the earnings before tax guidance from $655 to $675 million, to $675 to $690 million, but warned that this does not include potential flood and cyclone related impacts.
Although the number of fibre connecttions installed by Chorus increased by 38,000 to 997,000, the network infrastructure builder's chief executive JB Rousselot said the figure was limited by lack of technicians to do the work.
“Like other industries we’ve experienced workforce challenges in the wake of COVID and we’ve made significant efforts to reduce the gap to some 220 technicians today," Rousselot said.
"We expect to recruit another 150 technicians within a few months," he added.
"In the meantime, the widespread community devastation caused by the recent cyclones means we’re having to reprioritise some work so we can focus on restoration efforts," Rousellot said.
The restoration efforts are helped by fibre networks being less susceptible to water damage, he said.
Chorus experienced fewer faults and faster restoration for customers on fibre.
Rousellot added that Chorus has a plan in place to extend fibre to 90 per cent of the population, from the current 87 per cent, with the right regulatory and policy settings.
In completed Ultrafast Broadband areas, the fibre uptake is 71 per cent, with 24 per cent of subscribers on gigabit or faster plans.