Williams Cos 2Q Profit Up 23% On Performance

Date : 08/03/2011 @ 4:58PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Southern Union Company Common Stock (SUG)
Quote : 41.1  0.0 (0.00%) @ 2:05AM

Williams Cos 2Q Profit Up 23% On Performance

Williams (NYSE:WMB)
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Williams Cos.'s (WMB) second-quarter earnings rose 23% as the natural-gas transporter and exporter reported strength across its segments, while Williams Partners LP's (WPZ) profit also rose.

Williams Cos. again raised its earnings guidance for the full year, this time boosting its May target by five cents to a midpoint of $1.60 a share. It cited better margins.

Wednesday, Chief Executive Alan Armstrong said Williams Cos. had strong performances across its businesses. The company lately had reported better bottom lines thanks to higher commodity process and stronger margins for olefins, manmade compounds used in products like plastic bags, textiles and detergents. The previous quarter's strength in the Midstream Canada & Olefins and Williams Partners segments was offset by lower results at the exploration and production division. Williams Partners is the holder of gathering and gas-transport assets.

Williams Cos. posted a second-quarter profit of $227 million, or 38 cents a share, from $185 million, or 31 cent a share, a year earlier. Excluding items like charges from restructuring Williams Partners, earnings from continuing operations rose to 39 cents a share from 28 cents.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected 39 cents a share.

The company doesn't provide revenue figures in its press releases detailing quarterly results.

Separately, Williams Partners, which holds gas-transportation and gathering assets, posted a profit of $338 million, or 91 cents a unit, from a prior-year profit of $240 million, or 66 cents a unit. Analysts most recently expected 87 cents.

Williams Cos. is in the midst of a bidding war over Texas pipeline company Southern Union Co. (SUG) with Energy Transfer Equity LP (ETE). In July, Williams raised its bid to about $5.6 billion in cash, topping the $5.1 billion cash-and-stock proposal from Energy Transfer. The victor of their duel will become the country's biggest natural-gas pipeline company.

Williams is also in the process of splitting its exploration and production business from its infrastructure business into two separate, publicly traded companies.

Shares in Williams Cos. closed Wednesday at $30.06 and units in Williams Partners closed at $54.02 and weren't active after hours.

-By Joan E. Solsman, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2291; joan.solsman@dowjones.com

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