AGL’s Titanic coal failure sees it lose more than $2 billion

SYDNEY, Aug 12 2021 - AGL, Australia’s biggest energy company has posted a $2.06 billion full-year loss, which Greenpeace Australia Pacific describes as a “Titanic failure” on the part of the company to navigate the changing energy market.

AGL’s reported underlying net profit dropped 33.5 per cent to $537 million. The reams of red ink on AGL’s book comes after several years of poor performance, which have seen the coal company, which is also Australia’s biggest climate polluter, wipe more than $12 billion in value off its once blue-chip stock as renewables outpace coal in the Australian electricity market.

“Watching AGL fail is like watching the Titanic hit the iceberg, only this time the iceberg’s made of coal,” said Glenn Walker, Senior Campaigner at Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

“AGL’s leadership should have been prepared years ago for the renewable energy transition, but a series of bad captain’s calls from the coal-obsessed leadership team have seen the company double down on its coal-fired power stations – and now investors are paying the price for this poor navigation.”

“AGL and other big energy companies, like Origin and Energy Australia, have written down billions over the last year. That trend is only going to accelerate as even more renewables come onto the grid and the growing gap between cheaper clean energy and coal and gas prices becomes a chasm.

“With AGL’s AGM fast approaching, shareholders should be asking AGL’s leadership the tough questions about whether the company can steer a path towards a renewable future, or whether they’re prepared to go down with the coal ship with Graeme Hunt as captain.”

AGL’s chair Peter Botten, earlier in the year, admitted that he had failed to countenance the speed and scale of the shift away from coal to renewable energy, saying he “didn‘t see quite the level of change and the acceleration of change in my thinking 12 months ago.” The results posted today do not reflect yesterday’s announcement from Tomago Aluminium Smelter, AGL’s biggest customer, that it plans to shift to mostly renewable energy when its contract with AGL’s Bayswater power station ends in 2028.

 

Contact

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact Fiona Ivits on 0487 003 872 or [email protected] or Martin Zavan on 0424 295 422 or [email protected] 

 

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Timeline of AGL’s shifting coal fortunes