Origin Energy H1 profit falls

Energy group blames slip on impairments, LNG-related funding costs.

Origin Energy (ORG) says it will focus on improving performance, delivering first LNG, managing its balance sheet and creating growth opportunities after a fall in first-half profit.

Profit attributable to members fell by 39 per cent to $322 million in the six months to December 2013, compared with $524 million in the six months to December 2012.

Origin blamed the fall in profit on higher impairments, higher LNG-related funding expenses and the gain on dilution of its interest in Australia Pacific LNG in the prior corresponding period not recurring in the current period.

Revenue fell by three per cent to $7.24 billion in the half-year, compared with $7.45 billion in the previous corresponding period.

The group will pay an interim dividend of 25 cents per share, unfranked, on April 4 to shareholders on the record on March 3.

Origin chairman Gordon Cairns said improvements to the group's operational performance were reflected in an increased operating cash flow of $1.04 billion in the half, compared with $461 million in the prior corresponding period.

"The delivery of Australia Pacific LNG's project is one of Origin's key priorities and good progress continues to be made, with the upstream component 58 per cent complete and the downstream component 62 per cent complete," Mr Cairns said.

The group completed a number of funding initiatives to extend its debt maturity profile and improve its liquidity position in the half, he said.

Origin noted a net gain in retail customers despite continued competitive conditions.

The group also completed the acquisition of the Eraring Energy assets and secured fuel contracts that strengthened the scale and diversity of its gas and coal supply portfolio.

Through its gas sales agreements, Origin has secured ways to monetise its gas position in line with international oil-linked pricing.