August 21, 2019 / 11:22 PM / 7 months ago

UPDATE 1-Origin Energy posts rise in FY profit, flags lower earnings in energy business

(Adds details on segment, outlook)

Aug 22 (Reuters) - Electricity and gas retailer Origin Energy on Thursday said its annual underlying profit rose 41.6%, helped by robust production at its Australia Pacific LNG project, but it flagged lower profit for its energy markets business in fiscal 2020.

Gas retailers are facing rising pressure from the government to cut energy prices, a move that according to Australian energy firms could drive away much needed investment and increase energy costs.

“Origin knows affordability is the most pressing issue for our customers and in response we are playing our part to put downward pressure on energy prices,” Frank Calabria, chief executive officer and managing director of Origin, said.

Origin in November had announced concessions for some of its customers in a bid to deliver lower and affordable prices for its customers.

The Sydney-based company said it expects 2020 underlying earnings before tax at its energy market business in the range of A$1.35 billion to A$1.45 billion.

For the latest full-year, pretax earnings in the energy segment dropped 4.7%, while profit for its integrated gas business - which includes the Australia Pacific LNG project - jumped 51%.

Overall, underlying profit from continuing operations for the full-year ended June 30 rose to A$1.03 billion from A$726 million a year ago.

The company declared a final dividend of 15 cents per share. (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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