UPDATE 2-CNX Gas Q1 earnings beat estimates

miércoles 23 de abril de 2008 16:14 CEST

(Recasts, adds details, CEO comments, analysts comments, share movement)

By Ajay Kamalakaran

BANGALORE, April 23 (Reuters) - Natural gas explorer CNX Gas Corp CXG.N reported a 51 percent rise in quarterly profit that topped market expectations, helped by a rise in production and prices.

The company reported first-quarter net income of $49.9 million, or 33 cents a share, compared with $33 million, or 22 cents share, a year ago.

Total revenue rose to $160.5 million from $115.1 million a year earlier, the company, in which Consol Energy Inc (CNX.N: Cotización) has an 82 percent stake, said.

Analysts expected the Pittsburgh, Pennyslvania-based company to earn 30 cents a share, before items, on revenue of $142.5 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

"We got off to a strong start for the year, with our three CBM (coal bed methane) development areas of Virginia , Mountaineer, and Nittany achieving production levels higher than plan," the company's Chief Executive Nicholas DeIuliss said in a statement.

CNX's first-quarter gas production rose more than 11 percent to 15.9 billion cubic feet (Bcf) from last year.

"Their production was higher than what we had been modelling... Partly it was because they had some production from Buchanan during the quarter and we were modelling no production from Buchanan," Pavel Molchanov, an analyst with Raymond James, said by phone.   Continuación...