Brazil’s Petrobras Swimming in Oil and Cash: Profits Up 33%

Brazilian state oil company Petrobras said its first-quarter net profit rose 33% over 2005 last quarter to 6.675 billion reais, the equivalent of US$ 3.1 billion, boosted by an increase in crude output, sales and fuel prices.

While net profit fell short of a market consensus of about 7.4 billion reais, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a key measure of cash flow – rose 35% from year-ago levels to 14.1 billion reais, exceeding the average forecast of 13.7 billion reais.

The net profit was down from the record 8.1 billion reais in the previous quarter, but then Petrobras enjoyed extraordinary tax benefits from interest on capital payments.

Sales reached 35.9 billion reais, equivalent to US$ 16.775 billion, which represents a 6 billion reais increase over the same period a year ago.

Petrobras, which is Brazil’s industrial flagship and Latin America’s largest listed company has managed to make the country self sufficient in crude production this year.

Petrobras oil and gas output at home and abroad rose 10% in the period from a year earlier to nearly 2.3 million barrels per day. Domestic oil output alone rose 12% to 1.75 million bpd after the launch of two big offshore rigs.

Petrobras accounts for practically all oil production and refining in Brazil. After a near 13% output rise last year it expects to boost domestic output further to about 1.9 million bpd this year.

Oil extraction costs in Brazil rose 6% to US$ 6.32 per barrel, which Petrobras attributed to the foreign exchange rate. It said that discounting the local currency appreciation, lifting costs effectively fell 11% thanks to an increase in oil output.

Refining costs rose 9% to US$ 1.90 per barrel, but without the foreign exchange effect it was 9% lower than a year earlier, when Petrobras had more scheduled refinery shutdowns for maintenance.

Net exports of crude and oil products more than doubled to 58,000 bpd in the first quarter, but fell well short of 126,000 in the fourth quarter.

The Brazilian currency, the real, appreciated against the dollar in the first quarter, which reduced export revenues.

Mercopress – www.mercopress.com

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