Kerr-McGee 3Q profit surges

Wednesday, October 26th 2005, 9:23 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oil and gas producer Kerr-McGee Corp. on Wednesday posted a sharply higher third-quarter profit, helped by soaring energy prices and a hefty gain from discontinued operations.

Quarterly income surged to $359.3 million, or $3.09 per share, from $7.4 million, or 5 cents, the year before. Excluding items and discontinued business, earnings were $294.1 million, or $2.53 per share, compared with $143 million, or 95 cents, last year.

The Oklahoma City-based company's adjusted earnings came in below the average estimate of $2.59 per share seen by analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial. Kerr-McGee said the improved oil and gas prices were offset somewhat by lower volumes following recent hurricanes.

Revenues totaled $1.21 billion, a slight increase from $1.2 billion a year earlier, but missing analysts' consensus target of $1.45 billion.

Earlier this month, Kerr-McGee announced that its wholly owned chemical subsidiary, Tronox Inc., would be separated from the company through an initial public stock offering planned for the fourth quarter of 2005.

The company also has announced the sale of its interest in the Javelina gas processing facility in Corpus Christi, Texas, and all of its North Sea Operations.

``We expect each of these transactions to close by year end,'' said Luke Corbett, Kerr-McGee chairman and chief executive officer. ``Net proceeds from these asset sales and the separation of the chemical business are expected to provide about $4.4 billion for debt reduction and corporate purposes.''

By segment, exploration and production revenue inched up 2 percent to $880.7 million, while chemical pigment sales slipped 4 percent and other chemical sales added 4 percent to $25.5 million.

Last quarter, the company said its oil production averaged 104,900 barrels per day, a decline of 5 percent from 110,600 barrels a day a year ago. Average selling prices, however, swelled 52 percent to $46.26 per barrel, including its hedged production.

Meanwhile, average daily natural gas sales fell to 937 million cubic feet from 999 million last year, with prices up 35 percent at $7.10 per thousand cubic feet.