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Origin Energy posts higher profit, lifts forecast

Origin Energy Ltd. trimmed its statutory loss for the first half of fiscal 2018 and recorded higher underlying profit, thanks to stronger performance from its energy markets business.

Underlying profit after tax surged 216% to A$582 million in the six months to December 2017 from A$184 million in the year-ago period.

The Australian oil and gas company said its statutory loss narrowed to A$207 million from A$1.56 billion a year earlier. This included previously announced after-tax impairment charges of A$533 million.

Underlying EBITDA from continuing operations jumped 51% to A$1.49 billion from A$990 million in the first half of fiscal 2017.

EBITDA from the energy markets and integrated gas divisions jumped to A$891 million and A$630 million, respectively.

The company raised its full-year underlying EBITDA forecast for the energy markets division to A$1.78 billion to A$1.85 billion from prior guidance of A$1.7 billion to A$1.8 billion. The improved outlook was driven by stronger generation output at the Eraring Power Station, as well as higher natural gas volumes and margins.

Origin Energy said it is on track to cut its net debt to below $7 billion by the end of fiscal 2018, following the sale of Lattice Energy.