03/27/2013 02:35 EDT | Updated 05/27/2013 05:12 EDT

Antrim Energy recognizes $50.4-million writedown in Q4, stock plunges

CALGARY - Antrim Energy Inc. (TSX:AEN) shares fell more than 50 per cent Wednesday after the company announced larger quarterly and annual losses compared with 2011.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Antrim shares closed at 19 cents, off 20 cents or 51.28 per cent on the day and their lowest on record going back at least five years.

Trading was hectic, hitting 5.67 million shares compared with the usual daily volume of some 230,000 shares, making it the fifth most active issue on the TSX main board.

The company reported a $67.1 million net loss or 37 cents per share from continuing operations in the quarter, compared with the year-earlier loss of $14.9 million or nine cents per share.

For the full year, Antrim had a $134.8 million net loss or 73 cents per share from continuing operations in 2012, an increase from $52.97 million or 32 cents per share in 2011.

Antrim chief executive Stephen Greer said the company continues to add value to its North Sea producing properties but with a cautious approach to any new investment in small fields.

"As part of this strategy, the company recently took the decision to opt out of the continuing oil development at the Fionn Field and the planned development of the Fyne Field because costs had begun to rise dramatically," Greer said.

The Calgary-based company reported that its fourth quarter included a $50.4-million impairment charge as a result of its previously announced decision to opt out of participating in the Fionn Field in the North Sea.

It previously had a 35.5 per cent working interest in the block.

Antrim also said it had discontinued planning for development of the Fyne Field this week, following first production from the Causeway Field during the fourth quarter and first production from the Cormorant East Field in January.