April 26, 2012 / 1:33 PM / 8 years ago

TransAlta profit falls in tough pricing environment

(Reuters) - TransAlta Corp’s (TA.TO) first-quarter profit fell 56 percent as the Canadian power generator fought a tough pricing environment and record low natural-gas prices.

Earnings at TransAlta, which runs coal, gas and renewable energy facilities in Canada and the United States, were C$89 million ($90.34 million), or 40 Canadian cents per share, down from C$204 million, or 92 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned 20 Canadian cents per share, lagging analysts’ average estimates of 22 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue fell 20 percent to C$656 million.

TransAlta said results were hindered by “difficult pricing conditions and higher planned major maintenance.”

During the quarter, the company’s power plants were available for generation 91.7 percent of the time, compared with 90.3 percent last year.

TransAlta shares closed up 2 percent at C$16.72 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday. They have fallen 19 percent in the past 12 months.

($1 = 0.9852 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bangalore; Editing by Roshni Menon

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