February 14, 2018 / 10:19 PM / 7 days ago

Australia's Origin Energy half-year profit rises threefold on strong gas prices

Feb 15 (Reuters) - Origin Energy Ltd, Australia’s top power and gas retailer, said on Thursday its first-half underlying profit more than tripled on the back of rising energy prices and it raised its full year earnings forecast for its energy markets business.

Origin said it was on track to cut net debt to less than A$7 billion by end of fiscal 2018.

Underlying profit after tax for the six months ended Dec. 31 rose to A$582 million ($461.12 million) from A$184 million a year ago, slightly missing two analysts’ estimates of around A$593 million.

Origin raised its full year underlying earnings forecast for its energy markets business to between A$1.78 billion and A$1.85 billion from an earlier forecast of A$1.7 billion to A$1.8 billion.

$1 = 1.2621 Australian dollars Reporting by Sumeet Gaikwad in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler

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