Hess Corp.: Falling Prices Fuel Loss

May 21, 2009
Quarter ends in the negative after posting $759 million profit in the year-earlier period

Few companies seem to be immune from the sagging economy these days -- even the oil and gas industry. Hess Corp. is one of the latest companies in the petroleum-based energy industry to report a difficult first quarter.

The New York-based oil and natural gas exploration and production company said April 29 that it recorded a $59 million net loss in the first quarter compared with a $759 million profit in the year-earlier period.

The 2008 IW 50 Best Manufacturer's Exploration and Production segment posted a $64 million loss in the first quarter as the average crude oil selling price dropped 59% since the year-ago period to $34.42. Hess' average natural gas selling price fell to $5.08 per Mcf (million cubic feet) in the first quarter, compared with $7.06 per Mcf in same period last year.

The company's marketing and refining earnings rose to $102 million in the quarter, an $86 million increase over the previous year, primarily the result of higher energy market margins and improved trading results, the company said.

Murphy Oil Corp.
At A Glance

Hess Corp.
New York, N.Y.
Primary Industry: Petroleum & Coal Products
Number of Employees: 13,300
2007 In Review
Revenue: $31.7 billion
Profit Margin: 5.77%
Sales Turnover: 1.22
Inventory Turnover: 20.02
Revenue Growth: 11.33%
Return On Assets: 8.18%
Return On Equity: 22.59%
Meanwhile, Hess rejected a "mini-tender" offer by TRC Capital Corp. to purchase up to 2 million shares of its common stock, according to a May 15 statement. Hess turned down the offer because "TRC's unsolicited offer of $61 per share was more than 4% below the closing price of Hess stock on May 12, 2009, the day before the offer was commenced." Hess also noted that included in the offer were numerous conditions, including receipt of financing by TRC and no decrease in the trading price of Hess common stock.

Hess reported that TRC has made other "mini-tender" offers for shares of other companies and that the offers are designed to avoid many procedural and disclosure requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission because they are below the SEC's threshold to provide such disclosure and procedural protections for investors.

Hess noted that the SEC has issued an investor alert regarding these types of offers, saying that by making the offers at below-market prices "bidders are hoping that they will catch investors off guard if the investors do not compare the offer price to the current market price."

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