(Updates with tax expenses in third paragraph.)
Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian Oil Sands Ltd., the largest partner in Syncrude Canada Ltd., said fourth-quarter profit declined 60 percent as Syncrude’s production fell and the company paid higher taxes following its change to a corporation.
Net income dropped to C$232 million ($232 million), or 48 cents a share, from C$575 million, or C$1.19, a year earlier, the Calgary-based company said in a statement today. Per-share profit was 3 cents more than the 45 cent average of seven analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Canadian Oil Sands had a C$70 million tax expense in the fourth quarter compared with a gain of C$240 million in the same period a year earlier because it changed from an investment trust to a corporation under Canadian law at the end of 2010. Taxable income had previously been sheltered by the income trust structure.
Production at Syncrude in the fourth quarter fell to 23.2 million barrels from 29 million barrels a year earlier. Output was cut because of an unplanned temporary shutdown of a hydrogen unit, the company said.
Sales fell 3.1 percent to C$884 million. Operating expenses rose 31 percent to C$46.88 a barrel from C$35.81 a year earlier, according to the statement.
Canadian Oil Sands owns 36.74 percent of Syncrude, which held an estimated 4.8 billion barrels of proved and probable reserves at the end of 2010, according to its website. The other venture partners include Imperial Oil Ltd., China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. and Nexen Inc.
The earnings were reported after the close of regular trading on North American markets. Canadian Oil Sands was unchanged at C$24.23 at 4:45 p.m. in Toronto.
--Editors: Jasmina Kelemen, Tina Davis
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