Conoco Earnings Keep Pace With Estimates

Third-quarter earnings jump 39%.
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Conoco

today announced that third-quarter earnings jumped 39%, slightly beating expectations.

The oil and gas company reported that before special items, net income for the third quarter ended Sept. 30 rose to $261 million, or 41 cents a diluted share, from $188 million, or 30 cents a diluted share, on a pro forma basis. (The pro forma numbers take into account the debt that the company assumed last year after it split from

DuPont

(DD) - Get Report

.) Analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

had expected an earnings-per-share figure of 39 cents. Revenue rose to $7.485 billion from $6.029 billion a year ago.

Conoco A

(COC.A)

shares were up 1/8 to 27 1/16 and Conoco B

(COC.B)

shares were up 1/2, also to 27 1/16, in regular trading today.

The special items totaled $38 million, $18 million for the settlement of the posted price suits brought against the major oil companies including Conoco and $20 million for the resolution of certain liabilities associated with the separation from DuPont.

After 19 years, Conoco became fully independent from DuPont in August 1999. It is now "free to chart its own course and capitalize on the company's strong production profile and operating efficiencies," said Conoco chairman, president and chief executive Archie Dunham in a statement.

Said Michael Mayer of

Schroder & Co.

, "The numbers were basically in line with my expectations." He noted that Conoco's total production growth was very strong, up 16% from last year to 643,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. Mayer has a buy rating on the company. Schroder advised the company on its October 1998 initial public offering last year.