Woodside Petroleum: Result 2014

Woodside has reported an excellent full-year result, but the numbers obscure a longer term risk brewing in the business.

Woodside Petroleum has reported impressive full-year results, with the Pluto LNG project adding to output and cash flow. Production for the year rose 2% to a record 87m barrels of oil equivalent, although asset sales last year meant that revenue declined 6% to US$5.9bn. On an underlying basis, profits fell 19% to US$1.7bn reflecting lower prices. Underlying earnings per share fell 16% to US$2.13 and a fully franked final dividend of US$1.03 was declared (ex date 29 Feb), making a total of US$2.49 for the full year.

Net debt, once a genuine concern for the business, plummeted 20% to just US$1.5bn. With investment expenditure halving to US$800m, free cash flow of more than US$2bn was generated, a pleasing turnaround after years of investment.

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