08/09/2013 11:51 EDT | Updated 10/09/2013 05:12 EDT

Enerplus stock rises after strong Q2 cash flow report, positive guidance

CALGARY - Enerplus Corp. shares were trading at new highs for the year on Friday after the oil and gas producer eported its second quarter cash flow surged 40 per cent from a year earlier and handily beat expectations.

The Calgary-based company says its cash flow rose to $204.7 million. On a per share basis, that equated to $1.02, beating the average analyst estimate of 93 cents.

Enerplus shares (TSX:ERF), which have been on an upward trend all year, hit a new 52-week high on Friday. They were off their highs for the day at noon, up 74 cents at $17.71, but still above the previous 2013 high of $17.36 set last week.

The company credited a 10 per cent increase in production and improved commodity prices for the bump in cash flow, which was up from $146.5 million or 74 cents per share in the second quarter of 2012.

It said production during the second quarter was higher than expected but Enerplus is maintaining is 2013 oil and gas production target at the equivalent of 85,000 barrels per day.

"If we are unable to complete additional divestments, we would expect our annual average and exit production to potentially exceed our current guidance," Enerplus said.

The company's net income, which includes certain non-operating items reported under standard accounting, fell to $52.6 million, or 26 cents per share, down from $100.3 million, or 51 cents per share in the same 2012 period.

Analysts had been expecting net income of 24 cents per share, according to estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters.

So far this year, Enerplus has sold about $192 million in non-core assets and invested $55 million in acquisitions in its core areas.

"Enerplus has undergone significant change in our portfolio and strategy over the past few years. The impact of these changes is being reflected in our improved operational performance," the company said in a release.

It said it expects to "meet or beat" its targets for the year.

"We've achieved significant growth in production and funds flow and our balance sheet remains strong. As a result of this performance, we are delivering profitable growth and income to our investors."