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Ecopetrol Profit Misses Estimates as Lower Oil Price Pares Sales

May 3 (Bloomberg) -- Ecopetrol SA, the world’s eighth-largest oil company by market value, reported first-quarter profit that trailed analysts’ estimates after declining crude prices pared sales.

Net income fell 20 percent to 3.41 trillion pesos ($1.86 billion), from 4.27 trillion pesos in the year-earlier period, the Bogota-based state-controlled company said today in a regulatory filing. The figure compares with an average net income of 3.99 trillion pesos from five analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Ecopetrol shares have declined 20 percent in Bogota this year as production growth slows after the company failed to make large discoveries in past years. The shares rose 0.7 percent today to 4,320 pesos.

Sales fell 7.1 percent in the quarter from a year earlier to 16.75 trillion pesos.

Output rose 6.4 percent to 790,800 barrels of oil equivalent a day, from 743,400 barrels a year earlier. Ecopetrol is targeting average daily production of 798,000 barrels in 2013.

Colombia’s government owns about 88 percent of the oil producer.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Willis in Bogota at awillis21@bloomberg.net

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

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