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Conoco' s first-quarter profit beats estimates as profit declines


HOUSTON (Bloomberg) -- ConocoPhillips reported a slight decline in first-quarter profit that exceeded estimates amid falling global crude prices and slowing asset sales.

Net income dropped to $2.12 bn, or $1.71 cents a share, from $2.14 bn, or $1.73, a year earlier, Houston-based ConocoPhillips said in a Business Wire statement. Excluding one-time items, per-share profit was $1.81, 26 cents more than the $1.55 average of 18 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The global explorer, which spun off its refining operations two years ago, has sold assets from Algeria to Kazakhstan as Chairman and CEO Ryan Lance seeks higher and more stable returns in North America. Since the refining spinoff, the company has outperformed the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and larger peers such as Exxon Mobil Corp.

“They are executing their strategy and meeting their targets,” Fadel Gheit, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. in New York, said in an interview before the earnings were released.

ConocoPhillips isn’t planning another major divestiture program, Lance told analysts last month.

Brent crude futures, a global benchmark, declined 4% from a year earlier to average $107.87 a barrel in the first quarter. Gas futures traded in New York averaged $4.72 per million British thermal units in the quarter, a 36% rise from a year earlier.

The earnings statement was issued before the opening of regular trading on U.S. markets. The company, which has 12 buy, 12 hold and two sell recommendations from analysts, fell 0.5% to $74.31 yesterday in New York.



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