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Murphy Swings Back To Profit in Q4, Shares Slip Due to Gloomy Outlook (MUR)

Thursday, January 31, 2013 8:35 AM
Although Murphy Oil Corporation (NYSE: MUR) swung back to a fiscal fourth-quarter profit thanks to lower impairment charges and income tax benefits,  its earnings for the period missed  its own earlier guidance while outlook on fiscal first quarter also disappointed investors. Shares slipped in aftermarket trading on Wednesday. For the fiscal first quarter, Murphy oil is expecting earnings of adjusted earnings to come in the range of 55 cents to 90 cents a share, which is way below analysts’ consensus forecast for $1.30 a share, according to a data compiled by Thomson Reuters. Murphy, which operates in the U.S. and U.K. markets, has been under tremendous pressure since past one year.  Since the company operated in several business lines such as its core oil and gas extraction business, refining and distribution business, its efficiency and profitability started eroding, leading to an uproar from activists investors last year, demanding spinning off of its U.S. fuel making and distribution business.  Under pressure, the Company’s board approved the spin off distribution business in October. Besides, the Company is also unlocking its refining operation as it looks to focus towards its oil and gas extraction business. During the fiscal fourth quarter, Company’s earnings were mainly boosted by income tax benefits of $108.03 million linked to an operating losses in the Republic of Congo and Suriname. Impairment charges, related to oil production operations in Republic of the Congo and ethanol production operations in Texas, also shrunk to $261 million for the quarter from $368.6 million, in the year earlier quarter. In the fourth quarter, the Company reported earnings of $158.7 million, or 82 cents a share, compared with a loss of $113.9 million, or 59 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter. After excluding onetime items, earnings on adjusted basis came in at 84 cents compared to a loss of 61 cents a share, in the same period of last year. Earlier in October, Murphy forecasted adjusted earnings to come in the range of $1.10 to $1.70 a share. Revenue during the period climbed 8.8% to $7.39 billion, beating analysts’ estimate of $6.81 billion.  
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