Abu Dhabi's Taqa sees 80% slump in Q1 net profit

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Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA), the state-owned oil explorer and power supplier, on Wednesday said first-quarter net profit tumbled 80 percent partly because of an outage at one of its facilities.

TAQA, 75 percent owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, reported a net profit of AED106m ($28.9m) for the first quarter compared with AED534m in the year-ago period.

Revenues were AED5.4bn in the quarter, 6 percent lower year-on-year.

Profits fell because of a shut-in of the Cormorant Alpha platform in the North Sea, weaker North American oil and liquids prices, and the fact that a special gain was made in the first quarter of 2012, a statement from TAQA said.

Profit in the first quarter of last year included AED378m from the disposal of Canadian assets.

The Cormorant platform is likely to remain shut during the second quarter, affecting profitability. "We are working on the repairs. It is a difficult environment to work in, so a hard job to schedule. We expect to get it done before end of Q3," Carl Sheldon, chief executive of TAQA, said on a conference call.

TAQA's total assets fell to AED121.1bn at end-March from AED122.6bn in December because of depreciation of the Canadian dollar and a decrease in accounts receivables at its Taqa Britani project from joint venture partners, the statement said.

TAQA expects to finalise its acquisition of the Lakefield wind project in the US state of Minnesota in the second quarter of this year, and begin commercial operations at a hydroelectric plant in northern India by end-2013, Sheldon said.

In January this year, TAQA announced it was buying a 50 percent stake in the US wind power project, and it acquired a minority interest in a 100 megawatt hydroelectric plant from India's Himachal Sorang Power.

A regular issuer of bonds, TAQA may launch a $800m project finance bond related to the Shuweihat S2 power and water plant in the next two months, depending on finalisation of documents. "It is going well," Stephen Kersley, chief financial officer of TAQA, said of the project.

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