Arco, Unocal Profits Off in 4th Quarter

Atlantic Richfield Co. reported Monday that its profits in the fourth quarter fell 32% from the year-earlier period, and the company disclosed that it has set aside $65.7 million to cover a tentative settlement of government charges that it violated price-control regulations.

Meanwhile, Unocal Corp., parent of Union Oil Co. of California, said its earnings in the fourth quarter were off 14%, largely because the year-ago period had included proceeds from the sale of foreign properties.

Los Angeles-based Arco said it earned $285 million in the fourth period, down from $419 million in the same period of 1983.

For the full year, the company earned $567 million, off sharply from 1983 earnings of $1.55 billion.

The main reason for the dramatic decline was a $785-million charge taken against third-quarter earnings to write down the value of the company's metals assets, which it has since sold, and certain minerals assets.

Arco said the $65.7 million it set aside in the fourth period is to cover the anticipated settlement of a dispute with the Department of Energy involving allegations that the company violated government price-control and allocation regulations. A spokesman said a tentative settlement was reached Jan. 23.

Los Angeles-based Unocal said it earned $153.4 million in the fourth quarter, compared to $178 million a year ago. For the full year, the company said its profits were $700.4 million, up 12% from 1983 earnings of $625.9 million.

Chairman Fred L. Hartley said higher profits on its foreign oil operations and domestic natural gas sales were partially offset by a decline in the profitability of refining and marketing activities.

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