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Thu 30 Oct 2008 05:16 PM

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Taqa chief says oil price drop won't impact plans

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company boss upbeat despite slide in oil prices.

The boss of Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) said on Thursday margins would be preserved even if oil prices stayed below $70 a barrel.Peter Barker-Homek, speaking on the day his company posted a 448 percent increase in third-quarter profit to 723 million dirhams ($196 million), hinted that oil would start rising again, when global economic conditions improved.

“In the event that oil drops below $70 I’d expect margins to be largely preserved as we have a lot of clearance down to $40,” he told Arabian Business.

“All of the deals we did were priced before oil had the big run up, somewhere between $40 and $65. If prices start to go up - and this will probably happen when the world comes out of recession - service sector costs will go up,” he added.

Oil prices have plummeted 53 percent since their peak in early July when they hit $147 a barrel.

Barker-Homek said the deal between Shell and Exxon, where Taqa bought North Sea equity interests from the two oil majors, will be completed at the end of the month.

Taqa’s share price has fallen around 44 percent this year mainly due to a bond issued in August which converted last month.

Shares in Taqa at the close of trading on Thursday were up 0.5 percent at 1.99 dirhams.

Third-quarter revenue grew 81 percent to 4.5 billion dirhams versus 2.5 billion in the same period of 2007, the company said in a statement today.

Earnings per share grew to 0.35 dirhams in the nine-months to Sept 30 compared to 0.09 dirhams in the year-earlier period.

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