By Ernest Scheyder
Nov 5 (Reuters) - Oil producer QEP Resources Inc, which is under pressure from activist investor Jana Partners LLC, posted a lower-than-expected profit on Tuesday as a jump in commodity prices failed to offset a dip in production.
For the third quarter, QEP reported net income of $37.3 million, or 21 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $3.1 million, or 2 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.
Excluding losses on hedging and other one-time items, the company earned 36 cents per share.
By that measure, analysts expected earnings of 39 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Total revenue rose 43 percent to $772.8 million. Analysts expected revenue of $795.4 million.
Production fell 4 percent to 78 billion cubic feet equivalent, with the biggest percentage drop in QEP’s Haynesville wells, which produce natural gas. QEP did see oil production increase, especially in North Dakota’s Bakken shale field.
Average prices for the company’s natural gas, crude oil and natural gas liquids jumped 31 percent, boosting results and pointing to the company’s strategy of focusing more on producing lucrative crude oil.
“Our third quarter results demonstrate that QEP is making steady progress on our strategic goal of growing high-margin crude oil production, a trend we expect to continue as we head into next year,” QEP’s chief executive, Chuck Stanley, said in a statement.
Jana unveiled a 7.5 percent stake in QEP last month, becoming the company’s largest shareholder. QEP did not mention the stake in its earnings statement on Tuesday afternoon. The company plans to hold a conference call with investors on Wednesday morning.
Shares of QEP fell 5.4 percent to $31.50 in after-hours trading. As of Tuesday’s close, QEP shares were up nearly 10 percent so far this year, a jump that came mostly after Jana unveiled its stake.