EQT Corp. says expenses cut profit nearly in half

| Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, 1:14 p.m.

EQT Corp.'s profit of $48 million in the fourth-quarter was nearly half the number from a year ago, as costs tied to the pending sale of its Equitable Gas utility and other factors cut earnings.

Downtown-based EQT said Thursday it earned 32 cents a share in the October-December quarter, compared to $90.8 million or 60 cents a share, in the fourth quarter of 2011.

In addition to $4.5 million in expenses for the Equitable Gas sale, EQT said it took a $23.3 million charge in the period for the termination of an interest rate hedge and a $4.4 million lease impairment charge.

EQT, which has focused on natural gas production and pipeline businesses in recent years, announced Dec. 20 that it plans to sell the North Shore-based utility for $720 million to North Shore-based Peoples Natural Gas Co.

Sales for the quarter totaled $489.8 million, up 12 percent.

Based largely on horizontal drilling in the Marcellus shale, the company said, it had record production of 258.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas in 2012, up 33 percent from the prior year.

For the full year, EQT reported a $183.4 million profit, or $1.22 a share, down from $479.8 million, or $3.19 a share, although the 2011 results benefitted from the sale of a pipeline for $238 million and other factors. Revenue for the year rose slightly to $1.64 billion.

Kim Leonard is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5606 or kleonard@tribweb.com.

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