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Falling fossil fuel prices pressure Barnwell earnings

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Honolulu-based Barnwell Industries Inc. swung to a loss of $1.4 million in the April-to-June quarter from a profit of $802,000 a year earlier in part due to falling natural gas and oil prices that affected the company’s fossil fuel exploration business in Canada.

Barnwell’s earnings in the most recent quarter also were depressed by a $552,000 decline in sales receipts from its land investment operation. In addition, the prior year quarter included an $821,000 higher benefit from a reduction in stock appreciation rights expense. No such benefit was booked in the most recent quarter.

Natural gas prices declined by 64 percent to $1.25 per 1,000 cubic feet in the April-to-June quarter from $3.52 per 1,000 cubic feet during the same period in 2011. Oil prices fell by 20 percent during the same period, according to Barnwell.

Barnwell had a loss of 17 cents a share for the most recent quarter compared with a gain of 10 cents a share a year earlier.

Revenue rose 37.4 percent to $12.4 million from $9 million a year earlier. The revenue included $5,975,000 from the sale of one of two resort homes in Kona partly owned by Barnwell. The sale allowed Barnwell to reduce its real estate debt by about $5.3 million, and reduce administrative expenses and other carrying costs.

Barnwell’s stock was unchanged at $3.10 on the New York Stock Exchange. The financial results were released before the market opened.

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