(Updates with comments from Deputy CEO in sixth paragraph.)
Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- OAO Gazprom, Russia’s natural-gas exporter, said third-quarter profit fell 4.4 percent as the ruble weakened, leading to a foreign exchange loss.
Net income declined to 152 billion rubles ($5 billion) from 159 billion rubles a year earlier, the Moscow-based company said today in a financial report on its website. That missed the average estimate of 154 billion rubles in a Bloomberg survey of 12 analysts.
Gazprom, which has dollar-denominated debt and costs in rubles, was hurt as the Russian currency weakened an average 4.8 percent against the U.S. greenback. The world’s biggest gas producer had a foreign exchange loss of 141 billion rubles, compared with 6.8 billion rubles a year earlier, according to its statement.
“Everyone will focus on the cash flow going forward, because dividends come from that number and that’s the money that stays in the company,” Sergey Vakhrameev, senior oil and gas analyst at IFC Metropol, said by phone. “It isn’t clear where the company spends this money, what the return is from these investments.”
The company had negative free cash flow of 25.9 billion rubles in the quarter. Capital expenditure jumped 65 percent in the first nine months to 1.07 trillion rubles, according to the report.
Gazprom’s investments have been “high” in the last two years as it develops fields in the Yamal Peninsula in the Arctic, where the company plans to pump more than half of its gas by 2030, Andrei Kruglov, deputy chief executive officer, said on a call with analysts.
Net income probably rose 25 percent last year to almost $40 billion, Gazprom said in a separate statement today, citing preliminary numbers.
The shares rose 0.9 percent to 185.70 rubles in Moscow today.
Revenue climbed 22 percent to 950 billion rubles in the third quarter, Gazprom said. The producer benefited from higher prices in Europe, its biggest market by revenue, even as demand slowed. The company, Russia’s largest by market value, reports financial results to international standards months after smaller gas producer OAO Novatek and state-controlled OAO Rosneft.
Shipments to Europe rose 3.8 percent to 29 billion cubic meters in the quarter from a year earlier, compared with a 16 percent gain in the first half, according to Gazprom’s quarterly report based on Russian standards.
Gazprom’s prices for Europe and Asia climbed to $411 per 1,000 cubic meters from $313 in the third quarter of 2010, according to a presentation on the company’s website. Prices in the former Soviet Union rose to $313 per 1,000 cubic meters from $229, Gazprom said.
--With assistance by Stephen Bierman in Moscow. Editors: Torrey Clark, Tony Barrett
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