Gazprom says first-quarter profits rise 5% to $11.4 bn
The world's largest gas company, the state-controlled Russian giant Gazprom, on Tuesday announced that its net profits rose five percent in the first quarter to 380.7 billion rubles ($11.4 billion).
The rise in profits was driven by an increase in net sales of 19 percent, helped largely by an increase of sales of Gazprom's core gas product by 25 percent over the period, the company said in a statement.
Sales of gas to Europe and other countries rose sharply due an increase in volumes sold although net sales to former Soviet states were down. Sales in Russia rose slightly, by four percent.
The group appears to have been helped by the unusually cold weather in the early months of 2013 in Europe, where its exports still account for a quarter of all gas consumed.
Net sales of gas to Europe increased 11 percent from the same period the year earlier, largely due to a six-percent increase in volumes of gas sold and helped by a three-percent increase in average prices.
Gazprom had posted $38 billion in net profits for 2012, a decline of 10 percent from the previous year but still giving it the third-biggest annual income of any company in the world.
The state-controlled company, which was created out of the USSR gas ministry, is a cornerstone of the modern Russian state under President Vladimir Putin and a key earner of foreign currency.
The Russian state is the dominant shareholder, with 50.002 percent of Gazprom's equity. The company controls 18 percent of the world's gas reserves and 14 percent of production.
© 2013 AFP