TEXAS: El Paso Corp. earns $219 million

El Paso Corp., owner of the largest U.S. network of natural-gas pipelines, said first-quarter profit fell 65 percent in the absence of a gain last year from an asset sale.

Net income dropped to $219 million, or 29 cents a share, from $629 million, or 89 cents, after payment of dividends on preferred stock, Houston-based El Paso said today in a statement on Market Wire. Last year's figure included a gain on the sale of a pipeline business. The decline in first-quarter earnings was partially offset by higher pipeline fees and a 22 percent increase in gas futures prices. El Paso said April 16 it expects 2008 exploration and production earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to be $1.7 billion to $1.9 billion.

El Paso said last month it's expanding into northeast Louisiana. The company has exploration assets in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming, as well as in Brasil and Egypt.

The earnings statement was released before the opening of regular trading on U.S. markets. El Paso yesterday rose 7 cents to $18.27 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

El Paso's market value plummeted from a high of $39 billion in February 2001 to $2 billion two years later. The company incurred more than $5 billion in losses from 2001 through 2004.

Chief Executive Officer Doug Foshee, who joined the company in February 2003, returned El Paso to profitability and brought its market value back to more than $10 billion. He cut borrowings to about $14 billion at the end of last year from the $22 billion he inherited. El Paso's 43,000 miles of pipelines carry about one-fourth of U.S. gas supplies, according to the company's Web site.

Source: Bloomberg

No comments: