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PDVSA Sales Fall on Price Slide, Asset Sale, Universal Reports

March 22 (Bloomberg) -- Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the country’s state-owned oil producer, reported a 3 percent decline in annual sales on lower prices and a divestiture, newspaper El Universal reported, citing an Oil Ministry report.

Sales fell to $121 billion last year after PDVSA, as the company is known, sold a refining company in Germany, the Caracas-based newspaper said. The average price of the Venezuelan crude basket slid $3 last year to $103.2, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Cash holdings of the Caracas-based company plunged 51 percent to $4.2 billion, El Universal said. Even so, profit at South America’s largest oil exporter rose 2.8 percent in 2012, the newspaper reported, without saying why.

PDVSA’s debt to service providers rose 40 percent to $14.6 billion in 2012, the newspaper reported. Schlumberger Ltd. said this week it’s reducing work in Venezuela because of trouble getting paid by PDVSA.

Ministry spokeswoman Marlene Tupano said she didn’t have a copy of the report. PDVSA spokesman Alfredo Carquez in Caracas didn’t return an e-mail and telephone calls seeking comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anatoly Kurmanaev in Bogota at akurmanaev1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net

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