April 22, 2009 / 10:58 AM / in 9 years

REFILE-UPDATE 1-EnCana Q1 profit rises on $89 mln hedging gain

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* Q1 earnings $1.28/shr

* Rev fell 15 pct

* Operating earnings down hurt by low oil/gas prices

April 22 (Reuters) - EnCana Corp’s ECA.TO first-quarter profits were cushioned by a hedging gain of $89 million, Canada’s biggest energy company said on Wednesday.

EnCana, which last year called off plans to split into two companies, earned $962 million, or $1.28 a share, up from $93 million, or 12 cents a share, a year ago.

The results included a mark-to-market hedging gain of $89 million in the latest quarter, compared with a loss of $737 million in the first quarter of 2008.

Excluding one-time items, EnCana earned $948 million, or $1.26 a share, down from $1.04 billion, or $1.39 a share, in the year-ago period.

The company had been expected to earn 67 cents a share, the average forecast among analysts surveyed by Reuters Estimates.

Cash flow, a glimpse into an oil company’s ability to fund exploration and development, fell more than 18 percent to $1.94 billion, or $2.59 a share.

Revenue were $4.60 billion, down 15 percent from $5.43 billion a year earlier.

Fortunes of EnCana -- best known for its extensive unconventional natural gas plays in Canada and the United States -- and its energy rivals have dwindled in the past year along with commodity prices in the global recession.

During the quarter, oil prices averaged 43.31 a barrel, down 55 percent from the year before. Natural gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange averaged $4.47 per million British thermal units, down 49 percent.

EnCana shares closed up 13 Canadian cents at $52.71 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday. They are down nearly 40 percent in the past 12 months.

$1=$1.24 Canadian Reporting by Isheeta Sanghi in Bangalore; Editing by Anil D'Silva isheeta.sanghi@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 4135 5800; Reuters Messaging: isheeta.sanghi.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net

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