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SP AusNet's Year Profit Falls 6.3%

Australian infrastructure firm SP AusNet reported a 6.3 percent fall in its 2007/08 year profit on Thursday, and said it expected the current year's result would be of a similar level after higher interest charges.

Profit from continuing operations was A$151 million (US$145 million) for the year to March 31, compared with A$161.3 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement.

Normalized net profit from continuing operations, which excludes transaction costs of A$24.6 million from SP Ausnet's failed acquisition of the assets of Australian power firm Alinta, was A$168.2 million, up 4.2 percent from a year earlier.

Reported net profit was A$157.5 million.

SP AusNet reaffirmed its March forecasts and said net profit was expected to be in line with the current year, due to increased charges.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation growth was expected to grow around 8 percent, SP AusNet said.

The utility in March upgraded its earnings forecast for the 2008/09 and said it expected net profit to be about 15 percent higher than a forecast in its 2007 memorandum of A$147.5 million.

Revenues increased by 3.5 percent to A$1.05 billion on higher price, volume and customer growth, SP AusNet said. It added that about 23,500 new customers were connected to its distribution networks.

SP Ausnet, 51 percent owned by state-owned utility Singapore Power, in December pulled out of a plan to pay A$8.3 billion for assets of Alinta due to concerns over high borrowing costs.

Alinta was taken over by a group including Ausnet's parent company, Singapore Power.

SP AusNet said it was still assessing the synergies which could be obtained from the former Alinta assets through a joint ownership between itself and Singapore Power.

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