Australia: Origin Reports Strong Operational Performance

 

Origin Energy Limited today reported that Underlying EBITDA was up 16 per cent to $818 million on the prior corresponding period. Importantly, Underlying EBITDA before exploration expenses1 was $915 million, up 26 per cent and Group operating cash flow after tax of $794 million was up 87 per cent.

Underlying Profit of $304 million for the six months to 31 December 2010 was a decrease of 14 per cent on the prior corresponding period, primarily as a result of increased exploration expenses and a higher effective tax rate.

Origin reported a Statutory Loss of $136 million for the period which included $440 million of expenses that do not reflect the underlying business performance. These expenses included the impairment of Origin’s investments in the Innamincka Deeps Joint Venture and Geodynamics Limited, stamp duty and costs associated with Origin’s recently announced acquisition of NSW Government energy assets and changes in the fair value of financial instruments.

 

Origin Chairman, Mr Kevin McCann said, “Origin has been through a period of substantial capital investment expanding our oil and gas production and power generation capacity and it is pleasing to see this reflected in a strong increase in Underlying EBITDA and cash flow.

“Origin is pursuing two major opportunities which will both have a transformational impact on Origin’s business.

“We have continued to invest in the growth of our business through the acquisition of the NSW energy assets, which will see Origin become Australia’s largest energy retailer with one of the country’s largest and most flexible generation portfolios.

“The Australia Pacific LNG project is making significant progress and earlier this week received Federal environmental consents.

“Origin remains in a strong financial position and confirms its intention to conduct a pro-rata equity offering to partly refinance the debt facilities put in place to fund the NSW energy assets, further strengthening the balance sheet.

“The Board has declared an interim fully franked dividend of 25 cents per share representing 73 per cent of underlying earnings,” Mr McCann said.

The interim dividend will be paid on 1 April 2011 to shareholders of record on 7 March 2011.

Based on prevailing market conditions, Origin expects Underlying EBITDA to increase by approximately 35 per cent in the 2011 financial year when compared with the prior year. The company also anticipates an increase in Underlying Profit of around 10 to 15 per cent when compared with the prior year, with the range reflecting the timing of any equity raising.

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Source: Origin Energy, February 24, 2011;

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