* Says unsure when Venezuelan government will approve asset
* Fourth-quarter net loss $3.02/share vs $0.59/share year
* Shares fall as much as 10 pct
By Anannya Pramanick and Kanika Sikka
March 17 Oil and gas producer Harvest Natural
Resources Inc said it was not sure when the Venezuelan
government would approve the sale of its remaining assets in the
Shares of Harvest Natural, which also reported a bigger
quarterly loss, fell as much as 10 percent to $3.90 on Monday on
the New York Stock Exchange.
The company is in the process of exiting Venezuela by
selling its stake in Petrodelta SA - a joint venture with
state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA - to
Argentinian oil and gas company Pluspetrol for about $400
Harvest Natural's Venezuelan asset is its only producing
asset. The company sold a part of its assets in the country for
$125 million in December.
"A lot of that's (the sale of remaining assets) dependent on
the conversation between Pluspetrol and ... the ministry in
terms of plans going forward for the asset," Harvest Natural
Chief Executive James Edmiston said on a conference call.
Wunderlich Securities analyst Jason Wangler said Harvest
Natural's shareholders were looking for a more specific comment
on the closing of the second Petrodelta transaction.
The money from the first sale boosted the Houston-based
company's financial position, he said. "The liquidity concern
was more at the end of last year before this tranche funds came
up," Wangler said.
Harvest Natural used a part of the cash from the first
Petrodelta transaction to repay debt and now has no long-term
debt, company executives said on the call.
Some of the cash from the transaction was also used to fund
exploration work in Gabon, West Africa.
Harvest Natural did not say if it was going to operate in
Gabon by itself or get funds from a third party.
The company's talks to sell its stake in its Gabon assets to
Switzerland-based oil trader Vitol SA fell through
Harvest Natural, which has no operations in North America,
has discontinued its operations in Oman and Colombia, and said
on Monday it was in talks to sell its stake in a block located
on the Indonesian island of West Sulawesi.
The company is also unable to operate in the South China Sea
due to a border dispute between China and Vietnam.
Harvest Natural posted a bigger fourth-quarter loss after
taking two charges related to sale of assets in Venezuela.
The net loss attributable to the company widened to $112.7
million, or $3.02 per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31 from
$23.1 million, or 59 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding the charges related to the sale of assets in
Venezuela and an exploration charge, Harvest Natural posted a
loss of 36 cents per share.
Two analysts on average were expecting a profit of 10 cents
per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Harvest Natural's shares were down 5.8 percent at $4.09 in
late afternoon trading. The company has lost nearly a quarter of
its market value over the past year.