Gas Natural says profit flat on weak domestic demand

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Spain's biggest gas supplier, Gas Natural, said on Thursday its first-quarter net profit was virtually unchanged from a year ago due to weak demand in its domestic market and higher production costs.

The Barcelona-based company posted a net profit for the three months ending in March of 387 million euros ($574 million dollars), a rise of just 0.3 percent over the same time last year.

Sales rose 5.4 percent over the year to 5.36 billion euros and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) -- a key measure of profitability -- inched up 0.2 percent at 1.3 billion euros.

Gas sales in Spain dropped by 1.2 percent to 238 million euros during the period while in Latin America they rose 7.6 percent to 141 million euros.

© 2011 AFP

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