McMoRan posts $145m loss for 2012

Sliding fortunes: McMoRan sees four loss-making quarters in a row

McMoRan Exploration has reported its fourth quarterly loss in a row and a loss for the full year, as lower production and higher costs resulting from successive troubles with its key Davy Jones 1 well hit home.

The New Orleans-based explorer reported net loss of $1.2 million in the fourth quarter, compared with a profit of $28.4 million a year earlier.

Revenue fell 31% to $84.2 million over the period as output tumbled 30% from 170 million cubic feet of natural gas equivalent per day in the last three months of 2011 to 119 million cubic feet of natural gas equivalent per day.

For 2012 as a whole, McMoRan reported a net loss attributable to common shareholders of $145.6 million, compared with a loss of $58.8 million in 2011, as annual revenues dropped from $55.54 million to $37.68 million.

Former parent miner Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold unveiled its deal to buy McMoRan and Plains Exploration & Production for $9 billion in early December, in what proved the year's third largest upstream acquisition globally.

McMoRan is continuing to struggle with the completion of its closely-watched Davy Jones test in the shallow-water Gulf of Mexico, a feat which has eluded the explorer ever since it made the find in Wilcox sands in early 2010.

After McMoRan admitted subsequent to the acquisition announcement that its latest efforts to unclog the discovery well had seen "limited success", Freeport-McMoRan cut its offer from $15.50 per share to $14.75.

The deal, now expected to close in the second quarter, would reunite Freeport-McMoRan and McMoRan Exploration after more than two decades since they were spun into separate companies in the 1980s and 1990s.

The acquisition has eclipsed the company's struggling bottom line in terms of its stock performance, with McMoRan shares closing at $15.99 in New York on Thursday, having traded as low as $8.46 the day before the acquisition was announced.

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