(The Canadian Press) CALGARY _ Encana Corp. (TSX: T.ECA, Stock Forum) has reported first-quarter operating earnings that beat analyst expectations and says its hunt for a new CEO is nearing its end.
The natural gas giant posted operating earnings of US$179 million, or 24 cents per share. During the same period a year earlier, operating earnings _ deemed a better measure of Encana's underlying performance _ were $240 million, or 33 cents per share.
The consensus estimate had been for nine cents per share of operating income, according to Thomson Reuters.
On a net basis, Encana posted a US$431-million loss, or 59 cents per share, the company said in a press release.
The net loss included a $266-million unrealized hedging loss and $101 million in foreign exchange losses compared to a year-earlier profit of two cents per share or $12 million, when those non-operating items showed gains.
Revenue fell to $1.06 billion from $1.8 billion a year earlier.
A board committee has whittled down its list of potential CEO candidates to replace Randy Eresman, who left abruptly at the beginning of the year. The short list includes both internal and external candidates. Interviews have begun and Encana expects to complete its search by the end of June.
Chairman David O'Brien is to step down after a new CEO is in place. Clayton Woitas, who has been serving as CEO on an interim basis, will then take O'Brien's place as chairman.
Encana spun off its oil and refinery assets in 2009, forming Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX: T.CVE, Stock Forum).
Down 1% on Tuesday to $19.10, Encana has a market cap of $14.5 billion, based on 735.5 million shares outstanding. The 52-week range is $23.86 and $17.41.
Cenovus was up 0.14% to $28.97, leaving the company with a market cap of $22 billion, based on 755.5 million shares outstanding. The 52-week range is $36.68 and $28.32.