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Spectra Energy Corp. Q4 Profit Down, But Above Consensus

Natural gas and oil pipeline company Spectra Energy Corp. (SE) Tuesday reported a decline in its fourth-quarter profit, hurt mainly by lower revenues. However, earnings per share topped analyst estimates by a penny.

The company also said it is targeting investments of $25 billion in capital expansion projects through the end of the decade, aimed for long-term earnings growth and attractive dividend increases for its investors.

Greg Ebel, president and chief executive officer of the company said, "Throughout 2012 Spectra Energy's fee-based businesses generated strong earnings and cash flows, helping to offset the effects of lower commodity prices."

Net income for the three-month period declined to $241 million from $312 million in the same period last year.

Net income from controlling interests totaled $213 million or $0.32 per share, down from $289 million or $0.44 per share last year.

On average, 11 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn $0.31 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Operating revenues for the quarter declined to $1.35 billion from $1.43 billion last year. Analysts expected revenues of $1.40 billion.

Separately, Spectra Energy Partners, LP (SEP), an investment arm of Spectra Energy Corp., said its fourth-quarter net income increased to $48.1 million from $42.0 million in the prior-year quarter. Net income per limited partner unit rose to $0.40 from $0.38 last year.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $0.37 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Spectra Energy Partners, through its subsidiaries, engages in the transportation of natural gas through interstate pipeline systems, and the storage of natural gas in underground facilities.

Operating revenues for the quarter grew to $59.0 million from $57.9 million in the year ago quarter. Eight analysts had consensus revenue estimate of $60.50 million for the quarter.

The company also announced its 2013 financial outlook, which includes estimated cash available for distribution of $239 million.

SE closed Monday's regular trading at $27.98 on the NYSE, while SEP ended at $34.38.

by RTT Staff Writer

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