Origin quashes speculation, insists it has enough cash

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Origin Energy was forced to issue a statement reassuring shareholders it had enough cash after “misunderstandings in the market” regarding its current position.

The firm said it had in excess of $6.5billion of committed undrawn debt facilities and cash.

Managing director Grant King said: “Origin is confident that its robust financing arrangements and cash flows from existing businesses position the Company well to withstand a prolonged period of low oil prices.”

The company said its cash position could comfortably support its remaining contributions for its Australia Pacific project.

A spokesperson added: “Cash flow from the existing businesses without any distributions from Australia Pacific LNG is expected to be sufficient to service all interest and dividend payments and all committed capital expenditure associated with the existing businesses.

“The company expects that the remaining contributions to Australia Pacific LNG will be consistent with prior guidance of $1.8billion. The oil put options that Origin purchased in December 2015 limit the impact of any additional contributions that Origin may be required to make as a result of further falls in the oil price.

“If, for example, oil prices fall to US$20/bbl for the entire 2017 financial year, with the benefit of the oil put, the additional net contribution that Origin would have to make to Australia Pacific LNG is expected to be around $200million.”

The firm’s shares have fallen by half over the past six months.

Last week, speculation mounted that low oil price may force Origin to write down the value of its Australia Pacific LNG project.