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AGL shines a light on NZ investments

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Thursday 24th August 2000

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New Zealand companies NGC and TransAlta have helped push sales revenue for Australian Gas Light to just under A$2.3 billion in its latest result.

Australia Gas Light has announced a net profit for the year to the end of June of $A249 million, a rise of nearly 20% over last year, before one-off items. Net profit after one-off items was A$450 million, which includes profit from the sale of transmission pipeline assets for A$161.9 million.

AGL chairman, John Phillips, says the past year has seen significant progress towards the company's previously announced strategy, designed to re-position AGL for its next phase of growth.

"In many respects the most important area of change in 1999-2000 was in New Zealand, where the company acquired a further 33.3% shareholding in the Natural Gas Corporation, taking AGL's total holding to 74.4%."

Mr Phillips says the New Zealand business unit's earnings before interest and tax now stood at A$104 million, up 565%, making it second to the AGL gas networks in the company's earnings line-up.

AGL says it has become the largest energy retailer in Australasia in terms of both customer numbers, which reach 2.5 million, and in terms of the volume of energy sold.

This latest result is AGL's ninth successive increase in annual profit, and directors have recommended a final dividend of 27cents (6 cents franked), and an additional, special dividend of 23 cents (unfranked), to reflect the large abnormals profit. Mr Phillips says the recommendations will take the total dividend for the year to 74 cents per share (10 cents franked).

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