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El Paso 1Q Net Up 39%; El Paso Pipeline Income Up 17%

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES El Paso Corp.'s (EP) first-quarter earnings rose 39%, while the natural gas and oil producer's El Paso Pipeline Partners L.P. (EPB) reported 17% higher income. El Paso, which operates a network of interstate natural-gas pipelines in North America, last year agreed to sell itself to Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI) for $21 billion, a deal which is expected to close late this month. For the latest period, El Paso posted a profit of $86 million, or 11 cents a share, from $62 million, or 8 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding derivatives impacts, merger-related costs and other items, earnings were 20 cents a share, down from 30 cents. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of 29 cents a share. Meanwhile, El Paso Pipeline reported earnings of $135 million, up from $115 million a year earlier. Per-share earnings dropped to 54 cents from 57 cents due to more shares outstanding in the latest period. Operating revenue dropped 0.8% to $363 million. Analysts expected earnings of 61 cents a unit on revenue of $392 million. El Paso Pipeline is a so-called master limited partnership, a tax-advantaged structure in which most of the company's earnings are paid out to shareholders in the form of dividend-like distributions. A separate "general partner," which is owned by El Paso, oversees day-to-day operations. Shares and units of El Paso and El Paso Pipeline Partners were inactive in premarket trading after closing Wednesday at $30.29 and $33.77, respectively. -By Ben Fox Rubin, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3108;

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