(Adds background, segment performance)
Feb 21 (Reuters) - Origin Energy Ltd, Australia’s top electricity and gas retailer, on Thursday reported a 52.6 percent rise in its first-half underlying profit, helped by higher oil prices and robust production at its Australia Pacific LNG project.
Underlying profit from continuing operations for the six months ended Dec. 31 rose to A$592 million ($423.99 million) from A$388 million a year ago.
Driving the jump in profit during the half was its integrated gas business, which notched a 43 percent jump in underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to A$900 million.
Origin said higher oil prices and robust production from the Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG) project contributed to the jump.
In its quarterly production update released last month, the Sydney-based company said its stake in the APLNG project reported a 45 percent rise in second-quarter revenue, boosted by higher realised LNG prices.
APLNG is a joint venture between Origin, ConocoPhillips and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp.
Meanwhile, the company said its energy market core earnings grew a modest 2 percent, with strong performance in its gas related operations offset by the electricity segment which was impacted by high levels of competition and lower electricity usage per consumer.
The integrated energy company’s stock price had fallen about 31 percent in 2018, but has risen about 17.3 percent so far this year, as of last close.
During the half-year, total group revenue rose to A$7.66 billion, compared to A$7.49 billion earned last year.
The company recommenced payment of a dividend, announcing an interim dividend of 10 cents per share, adding it also expected to pay a final dividend of 10 cents per share.
$1 = 1.3963 Australian dollars Reporting by Rashmi Ashok and Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru Editing by Chris Reese