OMV Raises Dividend After Profit Gains on More Libya Output

OMV AG, central Europe’s biggest oil company, boosted its dividend after fourth-quarter profit gained on increased production in Libya.

Net rose 19 percent, to 393 million euros ($521 million), on sales of 11.4 billion euros, the Vienna-based company said today on its website. That was in line with the average estimates of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

“We benefited from the return of production in Libya and from a stabilized, on-target production in Romania and Austria,” OMV Chief Executive Officer Gerhard Roiss said in the statement. The company proposed a 1.20 euro dividend, 5 cents more than expected, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

OMV’s Libyan production plummeted after the revolt against former leader Muammar Qaddafi erupted in February 2011. Output has since recovered. The company is diversifying its exploration and production program beyond its core markets to seek more oil in the North Sea and Black Sea.

“Today two-thirds of our production is in core markets of Austria and Romania,” exploration and production head Jaap Huijskes said today at a press conference. “In 2021 the portfolio will have expanded considerably with one-third of production in core countries.”

OMV, which produced 303,000 barrels of oil per day in 2012, expects production to remain steady in 2013 before rising thereafter, Huijskes said. The company is targeting 350,000 barrels by 2016.

Negotiations over long-term natural gas supply contracts with Russia’s Gazprom OAO will take place this year and will result in lower prices by 2014, gas and power head Hans-Peter Floren said at the briefing. The spread between long-term contracts linked to oil prices and spot natural gas prices hurt earnings, he said.

“The result of 2013 will of course be linked to this difference and will be burdened by this spread even further,” Floren said.

OMV fell as much as 75 cents, or 2.4 percent, to 30.21 euros a share and was trading at 30.36 euros at 2:14 p.m. local time in Vienna.

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