July 9, 2017 / 8:43 PM / a month ago

Investors up stakes in Apache betting share price could double: Barron's

Workers hired by U.S. oil and gas company Apache Corp drill a horizontal well in the Wolfcamp Shale in west Texas’ Permian Basin near the town of Mertzon, Texas October 29, 2013.Terry Wade

(This version of the July 9 story corrects third paragraph to clarify that stock fell 1.44 percent on Friday, and was down almost 6.0 percent for full week)

(Reuters) - Apache Corp (APA.N) could be worth double its current stock price, some investors say, as strong management and sizeable assets have gotten a number of fund managers to place big bets on the Houston-based oil and gas producer, Barron's reported on Sunday.

According to the story, Harris Associates, parent of Oakmark Funds, and Davis Funds both substantially increased their stakes in Apache during the first quarter, betting the stock could reach double its current $45 per share price.

Apache's stock price fell 1.44 percent on Friday after the company announced plans to spin-off subsidiary Apache Canada Ltd to Paramount Resources, exiting the Canadian energy market. For the full week, the stock lost almost 6.0 percent, falling to near a 1-1/2-year low on Friday.

Apache reported profit in the first three months of 2017 with revenues up by almost $800 million and is expected to return to profitability this year after three years of losses.

Analysts expect the company will earn $462 million on a GAAP basis, or $1.52 a share, on revenue of $6.6 billion this year, climbing next year to $2.04 a share on revenue of $7.4 billion, Barron's reported.

Bullish investors cited Apache's resources in Permian Basin as well as Egypt and the North Sea, its movement of gas from its Alpine High oil field two months ahead of schedule, and reduction of costs as reasons for an expected jump in Apache's share price.

"We believe value will ultimately be realized, either by the market or by a buyer,” Tony Coniaris, a manager of the Oakmark Select fund, told Barron's.

Reporting by Dion Rabouin; Editing by Chris Reese

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