Despite ailing sales amid a warmer-than-usual autumn, Ferrellgas Partners (NYSE:FGP) reported Friday a narrowed first-quarter loss, attributed by the company to tighter expenses.
The seller of propane and related equipment posted a net loss of $28.3 million, or 40 cents a share, compared with a loss of $32.9 million, or 47 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.
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Results for the period ended Oct. 31 were worse than the 22-cent loss predicted by on average by analysts in a Thomson Reuters poll.
Revenue for the Overland Park, Kan-based company was $400.2 million, up 14% from $352.1 million a year ago, narrowly missing the Street’s view of $401.5 million.
“Our first quarter is traditionally slow due to the seasonality of our business,” Ferrellgas CEO Steve Wambold said in a statement, “however, a warm start to the heating season delayed sales in the period.”
Propane sales fell to168.3 million gallons from 179.5 million gallons in the year-earlier period on temperatures that were 27% warmer.
Earnings were cushioned slightly during the period by tighter expenses, including a 1.5% and 1.8% decline in operating, and general and administrative expenses, respectively.
Also Friday, Ferrellgas announced its plan to acquire Kings Rivers Propane, an independent California-based propane retailer, in an effort to build its presence in the region.