Origin completes acquisition of Integral Energy and Country Energy retail businesses and enters binding GenTrader arrangements with Eraring Energy

1 March 2011

Origin Energy Limited ("Origin") today announced it had completed the acquisition of the Integral Energy and Country Energy retail businesses from the NSW State-owned energy network businesses and entered into binding GenTrader arrangements with Eraring Energy.

Commenting on the acquisitions, Origin Managing Director Grant King said, "The acquisition of Integral Energy and Country Energy’s retail businesses and entering into the binding GenTrader arrangements with Eraring Energy, is a transformational event in the ongoing growth of Origin.

"Origin is now Australia's largest energy retailer with 4.6 million customer accounts and we have one of the country’s largest and most flexible generation portfolios with more than 5,800 MW of capacity, through either owned generation or contracted rights.

"The retail businesses and generation arrangements we have acquired add substantially to the integrated position Origin occupies in the Australian energy market. The GenTrader arrangements provide access to a highly reliable and flexible generation portfolio, which will support Origin's expanded retail customer base.

"Completion of this transaction will also create additional opportunities for growth across the Origin business.

"Origin looks forward to serving our new customers and providing a range of products and services to help them best manage their energy use.

"From today, this transaction is expected to be materially accretive to underlying earnings per share1, delivering immediate benefits to shareholders.

"At the time of announcing the $3.25 billion2 transaction in December 2010, Origin advised that it would be funded through new debt facilities, with the expectation that these facilities would be partly refinanced with a pro-rata equity offering. Origin reconfirms this intention," Mr King said.

Combined, Integral Energy and Country Energy have more than 1.6 million electricity customer accounts, 33,000 natural gas customer accounts and 9,000 LPG customer accounts.

Eraring Energy's operations include the Eraring Power Station and the Shoalhaven Scheme, which together currently supply approximately 7 per cent of annual energy to the NEM.

Commenting on the integration of the acquired businesses and arrangements, Origin Executive General Manager Energy Markets, Mr Frank Calabria said, "Origin has a successful track record in effectively integrating large retail energy businesses and new generation capacity.

"Since the transaction was announced in December, Origin has been planning for the integration of the acquisitions and arrangements with our existing business. We have established a dedicated NSW business stream within the retail business, reflecting our increased presence in the State.

"We have been working closely with Integral Energy, Country Energy and Eraring Energy and we are very pleased at the level of co-operation between the organisations. This gives me great confidence that we will continue to deliver a high standard of service for our customers.

"I would like to extend a warm welcome to Integral Energy and Country Energy customers. We are committed to working hard to ensure we effectively manage the transition arrangements," Mr Calabria said.

A Transitional Services Agreement (TSA) in place with both the network businesses will ensure a smooth transition for Integral Energy and Country Energy customers.

Customers can contact Origin via the existing numbers they use to contact their energy retailer.

Editor's notes:
Integral Energy has NSW's second largest electricity customer base with an incumbent position in growth corridors in the State, along with 147,000 customer accounts in South East Queensland and commercial and industrial customers in three states and the ACT. Country Energy has an incumbent market position in regional NSW, 60,000 electricity customer accounts in Victoria and commercial and industrial customers in four states and the ACT.

Eraring Energy's operations include the Eraring Power Station(2,800 MW3 available capacity) on the western shore of Lake Macquarie, 30 km south-west of Newcastle on the NSW Central Coast, and the Shoalhaven Scheme (240 MW available capacity) in the NSW Southern Highlands.

For further information please contact:

Angus Guthrie
Group Manager, Investor Relations
Ph: +61 2 8345 5558
Mobile: +61 417 864 255

Lina Melero
General Manager, Corporate Communication
Ph: +61 2 8345 5217
Mobile: +61 427 017 798

About Origin Energy
Origin Energy is Australia's leading integrated energy company focused on gas and oil exploration and production, power generation and energy retailing.

Listed in the ASX top 20 the company has approximately 4,400 employees, is a leading producer of gas in eastern Australia, is the largest owner and developer of gas-fired electricity generation in Australia and is a leading wholesaler and retailer of energy. The company services approximately 3 million electricity, natural gas and LPG customers across Australia. Origin’s strategic positioning and portfolio of assets provide flexibility, stability and significant opportunities for growth in the ever changing energy industry. Through Australia Pacific LNG, its 50:50 incorporated joint venture with ConocoPhillips, Origin is developing one of Australia's largest CSG to LNG projects based on Australia’s largest CSG reserves base.

In New Zealand, Origin is the major shareholder in Contact Energy, the country's leading integrated energy company, operating geothermal, thermal and hydro generation facilities and servicing electricity, gas and LPG customers across both the North and South islands. Origin also operates several oil and gas projects in New Zealand and is one of the largest holders of petroleum exploration acreage in the country.

Origin has a strong focus on ensuring the sustainability of its operations, is the largest green energy retailer in Australia and has significant investments in renewable energy technologies.

For more information go to www.originenergy.com.au

Important information
This announcement includes references to a possible pro rata equity offering to subscribe for new ordinary shares in Origin to be made to shareholders in Origin. This announcement is not a prospectus, disclosure document or offering document under any law. If any such pro rata equity offering is conducted, in a manner for which a disclosure document is required under the Corporations Act 2001, then a disclosure document will be made available following its lodgement with ASIC. Any investor interested in participating in any such offer should read and consider the disclosure document in deciding whether to do so and, will only be able to participate in the offer in accordance with an application form provided in, or accompanying, any such disclosure document.

This announcement is not for distribution or release in the United States of America, and does not constitute an offer of securities for sale in the United States. Any securities offered and sold in a capital raising will not be registered under the US Securities Act 1933, and may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration thereunder or an applicable exemption from registration.

Further information in relation to the matters described in this announcement including important notices in relation to certain forward looking information in this document is set out in a presentation document released to the ASX by Origin on 15 December 2010. The information in the Important Notices section of that presentation document applies to this announcement as if set out in full in this release.

1 Based on underlying EPS, excluding non-recurring integration costs and changes in fair value of financial instruments.

2 Acquisition price includes $136 million for stamp duty in NSW and excludes $15 million of stamp duty outside of NSW. It also excludes GST.

3 2,800 MW is available once all four units have been upgraded during 2012.