Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Profits Plunge for Conoco, Phillips

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Profits Plunge for Conoco, Phillips

Article excerpt

BARTLEVSILLE (AP) -- Conoco and Phillips Petroleum reported steep declines in fourth quarter earnings on Thursday, blaming lower prices for natural gas, crude and refined products.

The two companies, which in November agreed to merge, fell short of the expectations of Wall Street analysts and their stock prices fell slightly on the news.

Plans were announced in November for Houston-based Conoco and Bartlesville- based Phillips to merge, moving Phillips' headquarters to Houston in a deal worth $15.6 billion. The merger is expected to close in the third quarter if shareholders and regulators approve. Shareholders could vote on the deal next month.

Phillips, the largest public company based in Oklahoma, said Thursday that fourth quarter earnings declined by 68 percent to $162 million, or 42 cents a share, compared with $744 million, or $2.88 a share, in the same period of 2000.

Excluding one-time expenses, operating income was $227 million, or 59 cents a share. That compared with $701 million, or $2.72 a share, in the fourth quarter of 2000.

Wall Street analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call anticipated operating earnings of 35 cents a share.

Total revenues were $10 billion, compared with $6.3 billion a year earlier.

Chief Executive Jim Mulva said the company was hurt by a 36 percent drop in average worldwide crude prices and a 59 percent decline in average natural gas prices.

Shares of Phillips rose 36 cents to $59.19 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. Conoco was up 14 cents to $28.25 on the NYSE.

Despite lower oil and gas prices, Phillips' oil and gas production rose 17 percent in the fourth quarter compared with a year earlier.

Phillips' refineries operated at a healthy 94 percent of capacity, although earnings were affected by lower profit margins on motor fuel, distillates and other petroleum products. …

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