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Petrobras Quarterly Profit Misses Estimates on Rising Costs

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the state-controlled oil producer, said fourth-quarter profit more than halved because of costs to install equipment and pay workers.

Net income dropped to 5.05 billion reais ($2.9 billion), or 39 centavos a share, from 10.6 billion reais, or 1.07 reais, a year earlier, the Rio de Janeiro-based company said today in a regulatory filing. The company had been expected to earn 69 centavos a share excluding some items, the average of six analyst estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

Costs rose because of the installation of new production equipment in the so-called pre-salt region, an increase in platform maintenance and stoppages, and higher salaries, Petrobras said. It cost the company $12.49 to produce each barrel of oil, or the so-called lifting cost, up from $10.29 in the fourth quarter of 2010, it said. Gasoline imports last year also quadrupled to about 30,000 barrels a day.

“There was a large increase in costs, imported fuel was a little bit more expensive and there was more exploration,” Rafael Andreata, an analyst at Planner Corretora de Valores, who has a “buy” rating on the stock and doesn’t own any, said in a telephone interview from Sao Paulo before results were released.

Petrobras rose 7 centavos to 25.50 reais in Sao Paulo. The stock has gained 19 percent this year, compared with a 16 percent gain for Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa Index.

Link to Company News:{PETR4 BZ <Equity> CN <GO>}

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Millard in Rio de Janeiro at pmillard1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net

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