Half Year Report to Shareholders for the half year ended 31 December 2008.
Message from the Chairman and Managing Director
The first six months of the 2009 financial year was an extraordinary period for Origin.
Our core business performed strongly, delivering a record Underlying Profit of $277 million, up 38 per cent from last year.
At the same time we undertook an international process to confirm the value of our coal seam gas (CSG) business. We emerged with a 50:50 joint venture with ConocoPhillips and a shared commitment to pursue Australia’s largest proposed CSG to LNG project.
Largely as a result of the establishment of Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG), we recorded a Statutory Profit of $6.7 billion for the period, compared with $335 million for the prior year.
At a time when many companies in Australia are financially constrained by the impact of the global crisis in liquidity, Origin has $6.4 billion of cash and undrawn debt facilities and is well placed to pursue growth opportunities and continue to invest in our existing businesses.
At the AGM in October 2008 the Company’s Directors announced the intention to lift annual dividends to the higher of 50 cents per share or 60 per cent of underlying earnings in the years to follow.
Consistent with this policy your Directors are pleased to more than double the dividend paid at this time last year, and have declared a fully franked interim dividend of 25 cents per share, to be paid to shareholders on 25 March 2009.
Based on current market conditions, we expect underlying profit for the full year to be 20 to 25 per cent higher than last year. With an integrated business model, an outstanding portfolio of interests and substantial cash and undrawn debt facilities, we believe we are uniquely positioned to continue to grow our business.