Williams 1Q Profit Rises 32%; Williams Partners 1Q Earnings Up 13%

Date : 04/25/2012 @ 5:14PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Williams Partners, L.P. Common Units Representing Limited Partner Interests (WPZ)
Quote : 40.84  -0.35 (-0.85%) @ 3:59PM

Williams 1Q Profit Rises 32%; Williams Partners 1Q Earnings Up 13%

Williams (NYSE:WMB)
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Williams Cos.'s (WMB) first-quarter earnings rose 32%, mostly on gains related to the sale of former assets in Venezuela, while midstream and interstate gas-pipeline asset-holder Williams Partners LP's (WPZ) first-quarter profit increased 13%.

However, Williams Partners common units were down 2.8% at $54.84 in after-hours trading as earnings missed expectations. Williams shares were down 2 cents to $32.94 in after-hours trading.

Pipeline companies in the U.S. are undergoing a wave of acquisitions and expansion as they seek to adapt to the new geography of energy production brought about by shale production. Williams Partners last month unveiled a $2.5 billion deal to acquire Caiman Eastern Midstream LLC, which has midstream facilities in the Marcellus Shale, a major unconventional shale-energy field that underlies several Northeastern states.

Williams reported a profit of $423 million, or 70 cents a share, up from $321 million, or 54 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding the asset-sale gains and other items, earnings from continuing operations were up at 39 cents from 28 cents. Revenue increased 6.7% to $1.69 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters most recently projected earnings of 36 cents on revenue of $1.95 billion.

Williams Partners reported a profit of $348 million, or 85 cents a unit, up from $307 million, or 81 cents a unit, a year earlier. Analysts expected earnings of 90 cents. The company said the growth was mostly due to improved fee-based revenue at its midstream and gas pipeline businesses as well as stronger natural-gas liquids margins.

Williams last year opted against an initial public offering of its exploration and production business, instead opting for a spinoff of a public company, named WPX Energy Inc. (WPX), which was completed early this year. WPX plans to report its first-quarter financial results May 3.

-By Tess Stynes, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2481; Tess.Stynes@dowjones.com

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