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Chesapeake Energy swings to first quarter profit


OKLAHOMA CITY -- Chesapeake Energy swung to a profit in the first quarter as the natural-gas company reported much stronger-than-expected revenue and raised its targets for oil production this year.

Chesapeake, the country' s second-largest gas producer after Exxon Mobil, has been hurt by a natural-gas glut that has caused prices to collapse and its revenue to shrink. Chesapeake has since resorted to selling assets to keep itself afloat.

At the same time, Chesapeake has been shifting its focus to more profitable liquids-rich plays. The company said it was increasing its 2013 oil production guidance by 1 MMbbl, largely as a result of improving performance in the Eagle Ford Shale.

Chesapeake Energy reported a profit of $58 million, compared with a year-earlier loss of $28 million. Per-share--which reflects preferred stock dividends--Chesapeake reported a profit of 2 cents compared with a year-earlier loss of 11 cents. Stripping out hedging losses and other one-time items, Chesapeake reported a profit of 30 cents a share.

Revenue rose 42% to $3.42 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a profit of 25 cents on revenue of $2.85 billion. Total production increased 9% from the year earlier, to 4.0 billion cubic feet equivalent per day.

The quarter is the first since the departure of former chief executive and founder Aubrey McClendon, who stepped down last month.

 Dow Jones Newswires



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