Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa-Based Williams Cos. Inc.'s 4Q Profit Rises 50 Pct

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa-Based Williams Cos. Inc.'s 4Q Profit Rises 50 Pct

Article excerpt

Williams Cos. Inc.'s profit rose 50 percent in the fourth quarter, but the natural gas company's results fell short of Wall Street estimates.

Williams' stock fell 23 cents per share on Wall Street, to $22.16 in trading on Thursday.

"That is the game they play on Wall Street," said Tulsa securities analyst M. "Jake" Dollarhide. "Analysts get their guidance from the company and from Wall Street's perspective, Williams mismanaged the quarter. That is why their stock was down today while the market was up."

The Dow Jones industrial average finished up 83 points to 10,392.90.

"Still, it was a great quarter for Williams," said Dollarhide, chief executive of Tulsa's Longbow Asset Management. "Even despite natural gas prices being where they are today compared to 19 months ago."

Natural gas lost 21.4 cents in futures trading Thursday to settle at $5.172 per 1,000 cubic feet in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices were more than double that amount, at $10.62 per mcf, in June 2008.

Profit was $172 million, or 29 cents per share, compared with $115 million, or 20 cents per share in the same period a year earlier, the Tulsa-based oil and gas company said on Thursday.

Lower energy commodity prices in 2009, particularly in the first half of the year, impacted results in Exploration and Production and Midstream, as both businesses' results were lower than 2008, the company said.

Higher natural gas production; Exploration and Production's hedge positions, which cover a significant portion of its production; and fee-based revenues from certain Midstream gathering and processing services helped mitigate the effect of the lower commodity prices in 2009, the company said. Both businesses' results also improved throughout 2009. Gas Pipeline's results, as expected, were relatively steady.

The year-to-date loss from discontinued operations is primarily due to the charges that were recorded in the first quarter of 2009 associated with the company's operations in Venezuela, the company reported. As a result of the Venezuelan government's expropriation of the El Furrial and PIGAP II compression facilities in May, Williams is now reporting the results of those operations in discontinued operations. …

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