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TransAlta swings to profit on revenue gains

A pedestrian walks past the TransAlta building in downtown Calgary in this file photo.

Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

Power generation company TransAlta Corp. (TSX:TA) reports net earnings of $49-million, or 18 cents per share, up $60-million from a net loss of $11-million, or four cents per share, in the same period last year.

Revenues were at $775-million, up from $540-million year-over-year.

Comparable net earnings were $47-million, up from $32-million in the same quarter in 2013. That's 17 cents per share compared with 12 cents per share in the same period a year ago.

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The Calgary company said its energy trading business showed an improvement in comparable EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) to $49-million, up from $35-million year-over-year, due to higher power and gas prices during the exceptionally cold winter.

However, president and CEO Dawn Farrell says the stronger trading results should be considered a one-time event due to high pricing from the extreme weather conditions.

TransAlta Corp. announced earlier this month that it has been named he preferred bidder for the South Hedland Power Project in Australia. Subject to final approvals, TransAlta will invest the equivalent of almost C$565-million in a 150-megawatt, gas-fired power station in South Hedland, Western Australia, that it will build, own and operate.

Alberta's electricity market watchdog has alleged that TransAlta engaged in anti-competitive conduct in 2010 and 2011 during peak electricity demands to drive up prices. TransAlta has denied the allegations.

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