OMV Petrom Plans Dividend as Fourth-Quarter Profit Jumps

OMV Petrom SA, Romania’s biggest oil company, plans to pay a dividend as fourth-quarter profit jumped 26 percent from a year earlier on higher product prices.

Net income rose to 1.06 billion lei ($319 million) from 838 million lei, the Bucharest-based company said in a regulatory statement today. The company didn’t say what part of last year’s 3.95 billion-lei profit it will pay as a dividend. Petrom, majority-owned by Austria’s OMV AG, paid a dividend of 1.76 billion lei, or 0.031 lei per share in 2012.

“After a recent period of volatile crude prices and macroeconomic uncertainty, 2012 was a year of relative stability, with strong operational and financial performance for Petrom,” Chief Executive Officer Mariana Gheorghe said in the statement.

Sales rose 11 percent to 7.07 billion lei and earnings before interest and taxes grew 42 percent to 1.67 billion lei in the fourth quarter because of lower special charges, partly offset by rising exploration expenses. Exploration expenditure rose 34 percent to 194 million lei as the company is searching for natural gas in the Black Sea with Exxon Mobil Corp.

Dividend Payout

“We will make a proposal on a dividend payout to our shareholders at a meeting in April, which will take into account our investment plans in 2013 and in the following years,” Gheorghe said at a news conference today.

Petrom is considering investing more than 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in 2013, mostly in exploration and production, as it seeks to focus on field redevelopment projects to mitigate a natural output decline and its deepwater search for resources in the Black Sea.

The company plans to shut down its gas-fired power plant Brazi for a month in April and May to install gas treatment equipment, Gheorghe said. Petrom is also waiting for a permit to demolish its closed Arpechim refinery if it fails to find a buyer, she said.

Petrom shares fell for the first time in five days, losing 1.5 percent to 0.4405 lei at 2:29 p.m. in Bucharest.

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