Energy production and transportation firm

Williams Cos.

(WMB) - Get Williams Companies, Inc. Report

reported that its net income in the fourth quarter fell 49% compared with the same period last year.

The Tulsa, Okla.-based company reported net income of $115 million, or 20 cents per share, compared to $225 million, or 37 cents per share, in the fourth quarter last year.

Total net income included a $16 million charge from mark-to-market devaluations of its energy inventories. Earnings from continuing operations, which exclude nonrecurring items, were $192 million, or 33 cents per share, compared to $358 million, or 59 cents per share, a year ago.

Analysts were expecting earnings from continuing operations of 30 cents per share, according to a FactSet Research analyst poll.

"While the full-year 2008 results were favorable compared to 2007, the sharp decline in energy commodity prices during the fourth quarter had a negative effect on results in the Exploration & Production and Midstream businesses," Williams Cos. said in a press release.

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Williams Cos. also lowered its 2009 projected earnings per share to between 60 cents per share and $1.10 per share, down from a range of $1.25 per share and $2.05 per share. Its forecast average natural gas price was lowered to a range of $4.50 to $6 per million cubic feet, down from a range of $6 to $8 per million cubic feet.

"We are not immune from the challenges created by the global economic recession," said Steve Malcolm, chairman and CEO. "Given the effects of very low energy commodity prices on our business, we are making adjustments designed to preserve the value-creating capability and future growth of our business."

Shares were recently down 4.2% at $13.27 per share.

Williams Partners LP


was down 6% to $14.50, and

Williams Pipeline Partners LP


was lower by 3.6% at $15.35.