07/02/2019 - 15:48

AGL increases WA customers by 57%

07/02/2019 - 15:48

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AGL Energy has continued its growth in the Western Australian gas market, revealing it had approximately 33,000 customers by the end of 2018, a rise of 12,000 from six months prior.

AGL increases WA customers by 57%
AGL Energy joined the WA market in the middle of 2017.

AGL Energy has continued its growth in the Western Australian gas market, revealing it had approximately 33,000 customers by the end of 2018, a rise of 12,000 from six months prior.

AGL Energy joined the WA market in the middle of 2017, making it the third retailer in the state to compete with incumbents Alinta Energy and Kleenheat.  

AGL revealed that by the end of 2017 it had secured about 7,000 customers in its first few months operating in WA.

Origin Energy subsequently followed AGL into the WA market.

Nationally, AGL’s share of the market rose 1 per cent to sit at around 1.42 million customers.

Shares in the company slumped after it announced a $25 million upgrade to Victoria’s Loy Yang coal-fired power station and renewed calls for more certainty from Canberra on future energy policy.

AGL, which reported a 10 per cent lift in underlying profit to $537 million for the six months to December 31, said on Thursday the upgrade would boost Loy Yang's output and efficiency without raising carbon emissions.

At the same time, the power generator and provider has secured an option over a 250-megawatt pumped hydro energy storage project at Bells Mountain near Muswellbrook in NSW.

Shares were trading 3.34 per cent lower at $21.42 at 1230 AEDT.  

In a media call, managing director and chief executive Brett Redman said the scrapped National Energy Guarantee and fractured debate around proposed federal legislation had delayed progress on the new 252MW gas-fired power station at Newcastle. 

But he also moved to assure investors AGL had a good relationship with both government and the opposition.

"Interestingly enough we had a senior member of the shadow cabinet visiting us yesterday," Mr Redman said on Thursday. 

"I would describe (the relationship with Labor) as good ... I would say the same as government too. I think there is a good two-way flow of information and an ability to work with both sides of the house."

AGL's first-half revenue fell 1.3 per cent to $6.43 billion on falling sales across the customer and wholesale markets, as well as non-recurrence of revenue from its recently divested solar installation unit.

The company also noted consumers had been switching to lower-priced products.

Net profit after tax dropped 53 per cent to $290 million due to a reduction in value of the company's financial assets.

But underlying net profit rose 10.3 per cent to $537 million, and was tracking at the mid-point of its guidance range. 

The loss on fair value of financial instruments of $251 million - compared with a $127 million gain in the prior corresponding period - was a reflection of higher future electricity prices and lower oil and coal prices.

The company will pay an interim dividend of 55 cents, 80 per cent franked, up from 44 cents the same time last year. 

AGL shares were valued at $22.16 before the start of trade Thursday, up from a near two-year low of $17.58 in October, but still down on an all-time peak of $28.44 in April 2017. 

AGL LIFTS UNDERLYING HY PROFIT

* Net profit after tax down 53pct to $290m

* Underlying net profit up 10.3pct to $537m

* Revenue down 1.3pct to $6.43bn

* Interim dividend of 55 cents, 80pct franked, up 11 cents 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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