Encana Swings to First Quarter Loss; CEO Search Continues

Encana Swings to First Quarter Loss; CEO Search Continues

Encana Corp. said Tuesday it posted a loss in its first quarter, hurt in part by a hedging-related loss and lower natural gas and liquids prices.

The Calgary, Alberta-based company said it lost $431 million in its latest quarter ended March 31, mainly due to a $266 million hedging-related loss and a loss on foreign-exchange. A year earlier, the natural-gas focused company posted a profit of $12 million.

Opearting earnings fell to $179 million, or 24 cents a share, from $240 mllion, or 33 cents. The Thomson Reuters mean estimate was for a profit of 8 cents a share.

Cash flow was also lower, falling to $579 million, or 79 cents a share, from $1.02 billion, or $1.39 a year earlier.

Encana said its oil and natural gas liquids average production jumped 48% to 43,500 barrels a day in its first quarter, while natural-gas production fell 12% to 2.88 billion cubic feet a day. It said its realized gas price dipped 16%, while its average realized liquids price dropped 17%.

"Our focus remains on reducing costs and increasing our profitability," Clayton Woitas, interim president and chief executive, said in a statement. "We expect the cost reduction efforts we've made at the beginning of this year to have an impact on our financial results during the second half of the year."

Encana said the search for its next president and chief executive is progressing and is expected to be complete by the end of June. Mr. Woitas has held the position on an interim basis since long-time president and chief executive Randall Eresman announced his retirement in January.


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