Half Year Report to Shareholders for the half year ended 31 December 2009.
Message from the Chairman and Managing Director
It is ten years since Origin was first listed on the ASX. During this period we have consistently delivered value to shareholders. Per annum, compound growth in underlying profit has been 24 per cent, earnings per share has been 18 per cent and dividends per share have been 27 per cent.
Demonstrating our capacity to continue growing the business, we are pleased to report that in the first six months of the 2010 financial year, Origin recorded a 28 per cent increase in underlying profit to $355 million.
The increase was primarily driven by reduced financing costs, reflecting lower net debt due to receipt of funds following the Australia Pacific LNG transaction, and an increase in first half underlying EBITDA.
Overall underlying EBITDA increased three per cent to $706 million due in part to strong performances in Generation, with Origin more than doubling generation capacity, and the Retail segment. The performance of the underlying business has again demonstrated the value of Origin’s fuel integrated strategy, which continues to deliver growth across the competitive segments of the energy chain.
We have continued to invest significantly in our business with capital expenditure on growth and acquisitions of $1.5 billion. Origin maintains significant balance sheet flexibility and has cash and undrawn committed facilities of $3.7 billion available to fund ongoing growth opportunities.
The Board has declared a fully franked interim dividend of 25 cents per share, representing a dividend payout ratio of 62 per cent of underlying earnings per share, paid to shareholders on 1 April 2010.
Based on current market conditions, our expectation is that the underlying full year profit will be around 15 per cent higher than the prior year. The result for the half year demonstrates the continuation of a decade of growth and we believe that Origin has many opportunities to continue that growth through the next decade.