Delek Group profit drops after 2011 boost from accounting gain

JERUSALEM, March 24 Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:29am EDT

JERUSALEM, March 24 (Reuters) - Israeli conglomerate Delek Group reported on Sunday a sharp drop in quarterly net profit after earnings in the year-earlier quarter were boosted by a one-time accounting gain.

Delek's net profit fell to 203 million shekels ($63.5 million)in the fourth quarter of 2012 from 2.16 billion shekels a year earlier. In the fourth quarter of 2011 Delek had a capital gain of 2.2 billion shekels.

Delek Group, through its subsidiaries, has major shares in a number of newly discovered Israeli offshore natural gas fields.

The Tamar field, which Delek developed together with Texas-based Noble Energy, has estimated reserves of 9.7 trillion cubic feet and is expected to begin production next month.

The Tamar partners last year signed 14 deals worth about $39 billion to supply the local Israeli market with gas, Delek said.

Delek's fourth quarter revenue jumped to 18.1 billion shekels from 16.8 shekels a year before. It declared a dividend of 220 million shekels or 19.33 shekels a share for the fourth quarter of 2012.

"We are very excited with the upcoming start of production from the Tamar gas field expected soon, which will serve the domestic Israeli market's energy needs for the next two decades, further improving our cash flow," said Chief Executive Asaf Bartfeld in a statement.

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