UPDATE 2-Loews profit halves due to lower Diamond Offshore earnings

Mon Aug 4, 2014 10:34am EDT

(Adds analysts' estimates, details; updates share price)

Aug 4 (Reuters) - Hotel, energy and financial services conglomerate Loews Corp reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit, hurt by a drop in profit at its second-biggest subsidiary, Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc.

Net income attributable to Loews, controlled by New York's Tisch family, fell 57 percent to $116 million, or 30 cents per share, in the second quarter ended June 30.

Loews earned an adjusted profit of 66 cents per share, lower than the average analysts estimate of 67 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue fell to $3.59 billion from $3.62 billion.

Higher earnings at insurer CNA Financial Corp, Loews's largest subsidiary, and increased investment income were partially offset by lower earnings at Diamond Offshore, Loews said.

Late last month, Diamond Offshore, one of the world's top five offshore rig contractors, reported a 52 percent fall in quarterly profit, mainly due to lower utilization, higher contract drilling costs and increased interest expense as a result of higher debt levels.

Insurer CNA said on Monday net income rose to $267 million, or 98 cents per share, in the quarter from $194 million, or 72 cents per share, a year earlier.

Over the years, Loews has trimmed CNA's operations by hiving off its life insurance, personal automobile insurance, health insurance and reinsurance businesses.

The latest major sale was in February when CNA said it would sell its life and group insurance business to focus on property and casualty insurance.

Loews is also considering the sale of its natural gas subsidiary HighMount Exploration & Production LLC due to sustained low natural gas prices and grim price outlook for the fuel caused by a shale boom.

Loews's two other subsidiaries are Boardwalk Pipeline Partners LP and Loews Hotels & Resorts.

Loews's shares were trading down 0.4 percent at $42.08 in morning trading on Monday. Up to Friday's close, they have lost about 5 percent since April, when the company last reported results.

CNA's shares were down almost 1 percent at $37.69 on Monday. Up to Friday's close, they have lost about 7 percent since CNA reported results in April. (Reporting by Amrutha Gayathri in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D'Souza)