KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) ¿ Propane distributor Inergy L.P. on Monday said its fourth-quarter loss widened from a year ago as sales of propane declined. Inergy reported a loss of $45.5 million, or 79 cents per limited partner unit, for the quarter ended Sept. 30 compared with a loss of $42.4 million, or 85 cents per limited partner unit, in the year-ago quarter. The company had more units outstanding in the fourth quarter compared with a year ago. Excluding a distribution to the limited partners, Inergy said it lost $32.8 million for the quarter compared with $33.1 million in the year-ago quarter. Revenue fell to $231.5 million in the quarter from $340.9 million. Propane costs fell 50 percent in the quarter. Inergy typically reports a loss during the quarter because of the seasonal nature of the propane industry. The company said it sold 39 million gallons of propane during the quarter compared with 42.2 million gallons in the same quarter a year ago. Retail gross profit totaled $41.4 million for the quarter, up from $39.2 million in the same quarter a year ago. For the year, Inergy said it made $53.6 million, or $1 per unit, compared with profit of $28.7 million, or 57 cents per unit, year the before. Excluding distributions, Inergy made $101.4 million for the year compared with $65.1 million the year before.
Inergy Holdings L.P., the partnership's parent, said it made $12.5 million, or 61 cents per unit, for the quarter compared with $4.7 million, or 23 cents per unit, in the year-ago quarter. For the year, Inergy Holdings made $57.1 million, or $2.80 per unit, compared with $35.5 million, or $1.73 per unit, the year before. Inergy Holdings' assets consist of its ownership interest in Inergy L.P., including limited partnership interests, ownership of general partners and the incentive distribution rights. Inergy Holdings' units rose 13 cents to $53.59 in trading Monday afternoon. They have traded between $17.74 and $54 over the past year.