NatGas Distributor El Paso Posts Loss on Writedowns

El Paso on Thursday swung to a fourth-quarter loss amid a sharp decline in natural gas prices.

The natural gas distributor reported a loss of $1.68 billion, or $2.43 per share, after a profit of $160 million, or 21 cents per share during the same period last year. Results include a charge of $2.02 billion, or $2.90 per share, related to the deteriorating price of natural gas. Excluding nonrecurring items, the company posted adjusted earnings of 21 cents per share.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecast a profit of 21 cents per share, on average. Analysts typically exclude one-time items.

Natural Gas
Natural Gas

Revenue rose 6 percent to $1.34 billion, from $1.26 billion in the prior-year period. Analysts expected an average revenue of $1.21 billion.

For the full year, El Paso posted a loss of $823 million, or $1.24 per share, after net income of $1.11 billion, or $1.53 per share in 2007. Revenue climbed 15 percent to $5.36 billion.

Shares of El Paso were up more than 6 percent Thursday.