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Icahn's investment fund posts first loss since 2008 on oil plunge

Billionaire activist-investor Carl Icahn gives an interview on FOX Business Network's Neil Cavuto show in New York February 11, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Jennifer Ablan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn's publicly traded investment fund posted its first annual loss since 2008 last year, undone by plummeting oil prices, the company said in a regulatory filing on Friday.

Icahn Enterprises LP (IEP.O) lost $373 million, or $3.08 per depositary unit, in 2014, with much of it due to a loss of $478 million in the fourth quarter. Results were hurt by a halving of oil prices between June and December amid a global supply glut.

The company earned a profit of $1.03 billion in 2013.

The company's loss in the fourth quarter through December of $478 million follows a year-earlier profit of $222 million, as revenue fell 31 percent to $3.37 billion.

"This year's results were obviously disappointing, with the precipitous decline in oil prices impacting the profitability of many of our segments," Icahn said in a statement.

"I believe a great amount of profit in the next few years will be made by those who hold positions in energy companies. However, I also believe that oil prices will continue to decline in the near term."

The performance of Apple Inc (AAPL.O), the largest position in Icahn's investment segment, "softened the impact of the decline in oil prices and hopefully will continue to do so," Icahn said. Apple's shares have soared 62 percent since January 2014.

Icahn, one of Apple's top 10 investors, recently urged the iPhone maker to buy back more shares and raise its dividend. Apple said last April it would return more than $130 billion to shareholders by the end of 2015.

For all of 2014, Icahn Enterprises posted revenue of $19.2 billion.

Among the stocks in the Icahn portfolio are Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK.N), which has dropped nearly 34 percent since January 2014, and Transocean Ltd. (RIG.N), which has dropped nearly 68 percent over the same period.

"I hope and believe that Icahn Enterprises will be strongly profitable in 2015 and beyond, continuing our excellent long term track record of profitability," Icahn said in his statement.

(Additional reporting by David Gaffen; Editing by Bernadette Baum)