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Surgutneftegas First-Half Net Rises 39% as Oil Prices Climb

OAO Surgutneftegas, a Russian oil producer, said first-half profit rose 39 percent, helped by higher crude prices.

Net income increased to 77.8 billion rubles ($2.7 billion) from 56 billion rubles a year earlier, the Surgut-based company said today on its website. It reports earnings based on Russian accounting standards.

Crude oil traded in New York averaged $98.38 a barrel in the first half, peaking at $114.83 on May 2. That compares with an average $78.48 a year earlier. Higher prices pushed sales up 38 percent to 381.3 billion rubles, Surgutneftegas said.

Surgutneftegas’s preferred shares rose 4 percent to 12.707 rubles as of 4:48 p.m. in Moscow.

The company may pay a dividend in 2012 of 1.29 rubles for preferred shares, up from this year’s payout of 1.18 rubles, according to Bloomberg data. It currently trades at a dividend yield of 9.3 percent.

“Realistically we are going to have a higher dividend even if oil prices go below $100 a barrel,” said Alexei Kokin, an oil and gas analyst at UralSib Financial Corp. in Moscow. “We look at income because of dividends for preferred shares.”

The company said financial investments fell 5.4 percent to 449 billion rubles. That figure may exclude funds from the sale of the company’s stake in Mol Nyrt, Kokin said.

The Hungarian state bought Surgutneftegas’s 21.2 percent stake in the nation’s largest refiner in July, according to a filing on the Budapest Stock Exchange.

Hungary had called Surgutneftegas a hostile shareholder and opposed its participation in company affairs. The eastern European state agreed to pay 1.88 billion euros ($2.68 billion) for the stake in May. Surgutneftegas had acquired the stake from OMV AG for 1.4 billion euros in 2009.

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