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TransAlta Fourth-Quarter Profit Rises on Australian Plant

Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- TransAlta Corp., Canada’s largest publicly traded power generator, said fourth-quarter profit rose 58 percent after adding an Australian power plant and reducing operating costs.

Net income increased to C$38 million ($37 million), or 15 cents a share, from C$24 million, or 11 cents, a year earlier, the Calgary-based company said in a statement on Marketwire today. Excluding one-time items, the company earned 21 cents a share, less than the 28-cent average of nine analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue fell 5.7 percent to C$661 million.

TransAlta in September acquired the Solomon power plant in Western Australia for $318 million, along with an agreement to supply electricity to Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. The company has focused on supplying commodity exporters in Western Canada and Australia with power for extracting and processing natural resources.

An estimated C$200 billion of new generation is needed to power oil-sands operations, liquefied natural gas terminals and other commodity developments, TransAlta has said. The company last year entered an agreement with Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. MidAmerican will fund half the cost of natural gas-fueled power plants built or bought by TransAlta in Canada.

(TransAlta has scheduled a conference call for 11 a.m. New York time, available at EVTS<GO>.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy van Loon in Calgary at jvanloon@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at susanwarren@bloomberg.net

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