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Lukoil Quarterly Profit Beats Estimates as Output Rises

OAO Lukoil (LKOH), Russia’s second-largest oil producer, said profit fell 11.5 percent in the third quarter as gains on lower tax the previous year weren’t repeated.

Net income declined to $3.11 billion from $3.51 billion a year earlier, the Moscow-based company said today in a statement on its website. That beat the $3.03 billion average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Sales gained 3.5 percent to $36.7 billion.

Lukoil’s $2.05 billion purchase of regional producer Samara Nafta from Hess Corp. (HES) in April helped the company reverse output declines in Russia dating to 2009. Production is set to extend gains as Lukoil starts commercial output in Iraq by the end of this year or start of next year.

Results in the third quarter a year earlier were “significantly influenced” by changes in income tax expense, Lukoil said in the statement. The weaker performance is largely explained by an abnormally strong third quarter in 2012, Otkritie Capital analysts Alexander Burgansky and Roman Odarich wrote in research on Nov. 25.

“Free cash flow was the major positive surprise totaling $1.6 billion for the quarter,” Luis Saenz, head of equity sales and trading at BCS Financial Group in London, said by e-mail.

Oil and natural-gas production combined rose to 2.18 million barrels of oil equivalent a day in the third quarter from 2.16 million barrels a day a year earlier, Lukoil said. Crude volumes climbed to 1.88 million barrels a day. Gas output was little changed at 308,000 barrels a day.

The company is Russia’s largest oil producer after state-controlled OAO Rosneft.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Bierman in Moscow at sbierman1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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