The ability to rid themselves of the financial burden that is Otago allowed the Highlanders to move into the black.
The Highlanders on Thursday announced a profit of NZ,000 for the financial year ended August 31.
Highlanders Chairman Ross Laidlaw described the year end result as a "very positive" outcome for the franchise.
"The separation from the Otago Rugby Football Union in 2010, and the work done over the past two years by the board, staff, management and players have been significant and this positive result was expected," Laidlaw said.
"We are now on track to deliver under our independent business model."
Commercially, the surplus has been generated by strong crowds (on average 17, 000 per home match), increased corporate support from the business community, a credible team and a new stadium.
"The commercial and public support from the community has been an important factor in our profitable result this year, and I would like to thank our commercial partners and the rugby public for getting in behind our team," added Laidlaw.
"The result is further pleasing, as we have made a significant investment in a management structure and team, thereby positioning the team as title contenders.
"The Board is confident this result, and the turnaround of the franchise, is the beginning of a bright future for the Highlanders based in Dunedin.
"There is still a good deal of hard work required, however, we believe the Highlanders have a sustainable business model based out of Forsyth Barr Stadium," commented Laidlaw.
The Highlanders conclude their pre-season training for the year Friday in Dunedin.
They return on Monday, January 7 to continue preparations for the Super rugby competition.
The first home game, in Dunedin, is on Friday, February 22 against the defending champion Chiefs.
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