(By Balachander) Loews Corp. (NYSE:L) reported a sharp fall in quarterly earnings, hurt by impairment charges related to the carrying value of its natural gas and oil properties and a drop in profit at Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc due to a decline in rig utilization.
Earnings attributable to Loews were $56 million or $0.14 per share for the second quarter, compared with $250 million or $0.61 per share in the comparable period of last year. The quarterly results included impairment charges of $142 million recorded at HighMount Exploration & Production LLC.
Excluding the impairment charge, Loews said earnings would have been $198 million, compared with $250 million in the year-ago quarter.
Revenue declined 4.5 percent to $3.39 billion on lower net investment income and contract drilling revenues.
As at June 30, 2012, book value per share was $49.31, up from $47.33 at December 31, 2011 and $46.63 at June 30, 2011. There were 395.6 million shares of Loews stock outstanding.
New York-based Loews operates primarily as a commercial property and casualty insurance company. It also owns and operates drilling rigs that are used in the drilling of offshore oil and gas wells on a contract basis for companies engaged in exploration and production of hydrocarbons
The stock, which has been trading between $32.90 and $41.80 over the past year, closed Friday's regular trading at $41.70.