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SYDNEY Feb 26 APA Group Ltd (APA.AX),
Australia's biggest natural gas pipeline investor, posted a
19.6 percent rise in first-half operating profit on increased
contributions from assets acquired last year, and boosted its
APA, formerly known as Australian Pipeline Trust, said
operating profit before one-off items was A$39 million ($36.1
million) for the six months ended Dec. 31.
It also increased its underlying earnings before interest
tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the full year
by around five percent, to A$400-A$410 million from an earlier
estimate of A$380-A$390 million.
APA said the rise in operating profit was driven by
increased revenues from its pipeline transportation business,
contributions from the Directlink electricity transmission
business, purchased in February 2007, as well as contributions
from Origin Energy Ltd's (ORG.AX) network business acquired in
"Initial contributions from the new businesses during the
period are in line with acquisition assumptions and there is
real progress on integration activities," APA said in a
APA declared a total distribution of 14.5 cents per
The group owns 10,000 kilometres (6,214 miles) of gas
transmission pipelines in Australia and has about 25 percent
share of the country's natural gas transportation market.
APA, 15 percent owned by Malaysia's state oil firm Petronas
[PETR.UL], also holds a 17.2 percent stake in gas distributor
Envestra Ltd ENV.AX and a one-third interest in the SEAGas
Shares in APA, which also owns gas fired power generation
and gas processing assets, have fallen 14.3 since the start of
the year to Monday's close of A$3.11.
(Reporting by Fayen Wong)