UPDATE 1-Apache's profit misses estimates as output falls sharply

jueves 13 de febrero de 2014 10:01 GYT

* 4th-quarter adjusted profit $1.57/share vs est.$1.79

* Output down 14 percent at 688,000 boepd

Feb 13 (Reuters) - Oil and gas company Apache Corp reported a bigger-than-expected fall in fourth-quarter profit as its output declined sharply due to asset sales and a frigid winter in the United States.

Apache said on Wednesday that it agreed to sell all of its operations in Argentina to state-controlled energy company YPF for $800 million.

Apache, which also operates in Egypt, Australia and the North Sea, had set an asset sale target of $4 billion for 2013.

The company said that its plan to shed less profitable properties had generated $7 billion in the last two quarters alone.

Apache said last July that it was selling its Gulf of Mexico shelf assets to private equity firm Riverstone Holdings LLC for $3.75 billion, and followed that up by selling a third of its operations in Egypt to China Petrochemical Corp in a $3.1 billion deal.

Apache, like other oil and gas producers, is streamlining its asset base and focusing on the most profitable fields to boost share price and shore up its balance sheet.

"Management continues to make the right strategic moves by refocusing portfolio and directing capital to highest rate of return assets," analysts at investment bank Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co wrote in a note to clients.   Continuación...