Origin Energy lifts first half sales, slashes 650 jobs

Origin Energy lifts first half sales, slashes 650 jobs
Just a day after announcing it was sacking a third of its workforce, mostly from its Brisbane head office, Origin Energy (ASX: ORG) revealed its first half sales revenue increased 40 per cent.

Revenue for the six months to December 31 rose from $973.9 million in the prior corresponding period to $1.36 billion as Origin increased its liquefied natural gas output and charged higher prices for its products.

The energy company's production for the six months to December 31 increased by 12 per cent to 172.6 petajoules equivalent, helped by a 15 per cent increase in production from Australia Pacific Liquefied Natural Gas (APLNG). Petajoules equivalent is a measure of the volume of different petroleum products based on energy content.

The company, one of Australia's largest energy retailers with 4.2 million customers, says its December quarter production was down 6 per cent on the September quarter to 83.5 petajoules, because of lower customer demand and a seven-day plant shutdown at the Lattice Energy operations in Otway, Victoria.

Last September, Origin agreed to sell its conventional oil and gas arm Lattice Energy to Beach Energy for $1.6 billion and that sale is due to be completed today and proceeds will be used to pay down debt.

"This represents a significant milestone in delivering on or commitments to simplify the business, reduce debt and improve returns," says Origin CEO Frank Calabria.

Calabria says APLNG continues to perform well with a total of 35 LNG cargoes loaded and shipped from Curtis Island. He also said APLNG will complete a planned maintenance program during the March quarter with one train outage for approximately 16 days.

On Tuesday, Origin Energy announced it planned to slash more than a third of its 1,600 jobs in Queensland with most of the cuts to affect its Brisbane head office.

Staff at the Brisbane-based oil and gas producer and energy retailer were informed by email that around 650 jobs will be cut this year with 500 workers to lose their jobs as early as April.

Origin says the job cuts were part of its plan to slash costs and protect against swings in commodity prices.


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