AGL is back in profit as power bills rise

A technician on the top of a turbine at the Taralga Wind Farm in the Southern Tablelands of NSW. Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

AGL Energy reported a 232.1% improvement in its bottom line, turning a $408 million loss last year into a $539 million profit in 2017, helped by better wholesale prices for electricity.

Underlying profit after tax was $802 million, up 14%. Revenue rose 12.9% to $12.58 billion.

Shareholders get more than $1.1 billion this year in a buy back and a final dividend of 50 cents a share.

AGL’s share price fell despite the result. A short time ago, they were down 1.7% to $24.56.

The company expects underlying profit after tax to be within the range of $940 million to $1.04 billion in the 2018 financial year, subject to any adverse impact from government policy and regulations.

Managing director Andy Vesey, one of the power chiefs called to Canberra this week to explain why prices are rising for households, says the 2017 results reflect the continued delivery of AGL’s strategy as the energy sector undergoes significant change.

“AGL and its partners are progressing projects with a value of more than $2 billion to bring new, low emissions electricity generation and more competitive gas supply to the Australian market,” he says.

“We will also be investing in product and service innovation to empower customers and improve their energy experience. At the same time, we continue to assess opportunities to leverage our energy retailing platform into new geographies.”

The other electricity players in Canberra this week were Energy Australia, Momentum Energy, Simply Energy, Alinta Energy, Origin Energy, Australian Energy Council and Snowy Hydro.

After the meeting, minister Malcolm Turnbull said the companies had agreed to warn customer when their discount electricity plans were about to expire

Here are AGL’s numbers for 2017:

Source: AGL