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Soaring energy prices power Singapore's Sembcorp Industries half-year profit

Soaring energy prices power Singapore's Sembcorp Industries half-year profit

(Adds background, dividend, outlook, and comments)

Aug 5 (Reuters) - Singapore's Sembcorp Industries Ltd said on Friday its first-half profit surged nearly 11 times and also forecast a stronger fiscal 2022, as the utilities company reaped the benefits of higher energy prices at home and in India.

The Conventional Energy segment, which made up 86% of total revenue last year, swung to a profit of S$397 million ($288.73 million) in the first half from a loss last year, further aided by realised gains from favourable gas hedges entered in 2021 in Singapore.

Sembcorp Industries expects strong underlying earnings from the energy segment in the second half if market conditions remain steady, but flagged risks to its performance from global inflationary concerns.

The segment, through which Sembcorp owns and invests in energy assets across Asia, has seen business boom as power prices around the world soared on supply worries following major oil producer Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

It posted a profit attributable of S$490 million for the six months ended June 30, compared with S$46 million a year earlier, when it took on a S$212 million impairment charge for a coal-fired power plant in China.

The bumper performance also helped the company hike its interim dividend to 4 Singaporean cents per share from 2 Singaporean cents last year.

($1 = 1.3750 Singapore dollars)

(Reporting by Harshita Swaminathan and Savyata Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)