Oil and natural gas producer Apache Corp. (APA) reported Thursday a profit for the fourth quarter that nearly halved from last year, reflecting higher deferred income tax provisions and lease operating expenses. Adjusted earnings per share for the quarter missed analysts' expectations by three cents, while quarterly revenues topped their estimates by a whisker.
"Having deepened and strengthened our global portfolio of growth projects since 2010, we are accelerating our operational momentum. Apache exited 2012 producing in excess of 800,000 boe per day, driven primarily by our North American oil production, which increased 12 percent during the year," Chairman and CEO Steven Farris said in a statement.
The Houston, Texas-based company reported net earnings of $649 million or $1.64 per share for the fourth quarter, down from $1.17 billion or $2.98 per share in the prior-year quarter.
Excluding items, adjusted earnings for the quarter were $907 million or $2.27 per share, compared to $1.15 billion or $2.94 per share in the year-ago quarter.
On average, 27 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $2.30 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.
Revenues for the quarter grew to $4.39 billion from $4.30 billion in the same quarter last year, and topped sixteen Wall Street analysts' consensus estimate of $4.37 billion by a whisker.
The company said production for the quarter reached a new quarterly milestone, averaging 800,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
Apache's oil and natural gas liquids production was 51 percent of total volume in 2012 and contributed 81 percent of revenues reflecting the wide gap between global crude oil and North American natural gas prices.
The company's deferred income tax provision for the quarter more than doubled to $467 million from $181 million in the year-ago quarter. Lease operating expenses totaled $790 million, up from $659 million in the prior-year quarter.
On Tuesday, Apache 's board raised the regular quarterly cash dividend on its common shares by 18 percent to $0.20 per share, payable on May 22 to stockholders of record on April 2, 2013.
For fiscal 2012, the company reported net earnings of $1.93 billion or $4.92 per share, sharply down from $4.51 billion or $11.47 per share in the prior year. Excluding items, adjusted earnings for the year were $3.77 billion or $9.48 per share, compared to $4.65 billion or $11.83 per share in the year ago. Revenues for the quarter grew to $17.08 billion from $16.89 billion in the previous year.
Street was looking for full-year 2012 earnings of 49.70 per share on annual revenue of $16.96 billion.
In Thursday's regular trading session, APA is currently trading at $83.31, down $1.01 or 1.20% on a volume of 1.56 million shares. In the past 52-week period, the stock has been trading in a range of $74.50 to $112.09.
by RTT Staff Writer
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