Mobil Corp., the nation's second largest oil company, said yesterday its profit fell 52 percent in the final three months of 1982, while No. 3 Texaco Inc. reported a 40 percent slide in earnings and No. 8 Shell Oil Co. said its profit was off 4 percent.
They were the latest in a growing number of major oil companies to report lower earnings as a result of the recession and a world oil glut.
Also yesterday, Bethlehem Steel Corp. said it lost $1.15 billion for the fourth quarter and $1.47 billion for 1982--Bethlehem's largest losses ever and the largest quarterly loss in U.S. corporate history. General Foods and Procter & Gamble said earnings for their latest reporting periods were higher.
New York-based Mobil said profit in the fourth quarter fell to $282 million, or 69 cents a share, from $587 million ($1.38) a year earlier. Revenue slid 10 percent to $16.2 billion from $18.1 billion.
For all of last year, profit dropped 43 percent to $1.38 billion ($3.31) from $2.43 billion ($5.72) in 1981. Revenue of $63.8 billion was down 7 percent from $68.6 billion in the previous year.
Texaco, based in White Plains, N.Y., said profit slid to $306 million ($1.18) in the fourth quarter from $507 million ($1.96) in the same 1981 period. Revenue fell 20 percent to $11.7 billion from $14.6 billion.
For all of 1982, profit dropped 45 percent to $1.28 billion ($4.92) from $2.31 billion ($8.75) a year earlier. Revenue fell 19 percent to $48 billion from $59.3 billion.
Texaco's profit was reduced by $140 million last year as a result of the closing of refineries and the disposal of tanker ships that were scrapped in an economy move.
Shell, based in Houston, said fourth-quarter profit declined to $438 million ($1.42) from $458 million ($1.48) a year earlier. Revenue of $5.18 billion compared with $5.19 billion in the final three months of 1981.
Profit for 1982 edged down 6 percent to $1.6 billion ($5.19) from $1.7 billion ($5.51) in 1981. Revenue dropped to $20.2 billion from $21.7 billion.
Commenting on its record loss, Bethlehem spokesman Robert LeMay said the company's biggest previous yearly loss was $448.2 million in 1977. Bethlehem's largest previous quarterly loss, $477 million, came in the third quarter of 1977.
The lion's share of Bethlehem's 1982 loss, $1.05 billion, stemmed from costs of the planned shutdown of its Lackawanna, N.Y., plant and the restructuring of its Johnstown, Pa., plant.
The losses compare with net income of $31.1 million in the fourth quarter of 1981 and earnings of $210.9 million for 1981 as a whole.
The recession-wracked No. 2 steel maker said fourth-quarter sales totaled $1.02 billion versus $1.63 billion in the same period in 1981. Sales for 1982 were almost $5.36 billion versus 1981 sales of $7.3 billion.
Donald Trautlein, chairman and chief executive, said he expected Bethlehem's operating losses to continue "at least through the first half of the year."
A dividend of 15 cents per share of common stock, payable March 10 to holders of record Feb. 10, was declared by the board of directors yesterday. This is a 10-cent reduction from Bethlehem's quarterly dividend of 25 cents.
General Foods reported a 12 percent increase in earnings from continuing operations for the nine months of its 1983 fiscal year ended Jan. 1, but third quarter earnings were lower than the year-ago quarter.
Earnings for the nine months were $178.7 million ($3.58) on sales of $6 billion versus $159.7 million ($3.23) on sales of $6.2 billion.
For the third quarter ended Jan. 1, earnings declined almost 4 percent to $51.1 million ($1) on revenues of $2 billion against $53.1 million ($1.08) on sales of $2.1 billion.
The White Plains, N.Y.-basedcompany said the strong U.S. dollar had an adverse impact on its sales of international operations and sales volume in General Foods' domestic operations fell below expectations.
Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble Co. said its fiscal second-quarter profit rose 10 percent from a year earlier as sales climbed 4.7 percent.
The diversified consumer products company said earnings in the quarter ended Dec. 31 rose to $210 million ($1.27) from $191 million ($1.15) a year earlier. Sales were $3 billion, up from $2.9 billion.
For the first six months of its fiscal year, profit rose 12.8 percent to $467 million ($2.82) from $414 million ($2.50) in the year-earlier period. Six-month sales climbed 5 percent to $6.23 billion from $5.92 billion.