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AGL Energy’s half-year profit has fallen 19.6 per cent and the company has reduced its interim dividend payout, hurt by weaker power prices and an outage at its Loy Yang coal-powered plant.

Underlying profit, which omits one-off items, for the six months to December 31 fell to $432 million from $537 million last year. The profit, however, beat Morgan Stanley’s estimates of $363 million.

Australia’s top power producer declared an interim dividend of 47 cents per share, smaller than the 55 cents per share a year ago.