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Writedowns hit TransAlta's fourth quarter

A TransAlta wind farm

HO

TransAlta Corp. says writedowns of certain power-generation assets resulted in a lower fourth-quarter profit last year.

The Calgary-based company's fourth quarter net income fell to $62-million or 28 cents per share, down from $79-million or 37 cents per share in the same period of 2009.

On the positive side, revenue and cash flow from operations were up and the asset impairment charges were partially offset by increased gains on the value of its power hedges.

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Revenue for the quarter was $811-million, up from $763-million, while cash flow from operations increased to $309-million or $1.40 per share from $246-million or $1.17 per share.

TransAlta says the net income included $54-million of impairment charges, partially offset by increase in mark-to-market gains of $28-million on power hedges.

The company's comparable earnings, a non-standard measure of profitability, were $88-million or 40 cents per share, compared with $84-million or 40 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Analysts had been expecting 37 cents per share of comparable earnings, according to figures compiled by Thomson Reuters.

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