Ecopetrol Misses Profit Estimate on Pipeline and Pension Costs

Ecopetrol SA, Colombia’s largest oil company, said fourth-quarter profit slumped 33 percent, missing analysts’ estimates, after pipeline costs and pension payments rose.

Net income fell to 2.43 trillion pesos ($1.2 billion), from 3.62 trillion pesos a year earlier, the Bogota-based company said today in a filing after markets closed today. Ecopetrol was forecast to post profit excluding some items of 3.7 trillion pesos, according to the mean of six estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Pipeline bombings surged last year as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, tries to damage an industry that President Juan Manuel Santos calls an engine of growth. The number of attacks jumped 72 percent from a year earlier to 259, Defense Ministry data show.

The state-run company produced a record 788,200 barrels of oil equivalent a day on average last year, up from 754,000 barrels a day in 2012 and missing a 798,000-barrel target.

Proven reserves increased 5.1 percent from a year earlier to 1.97 billion barrels, the company said. Ecopetrol will propose a dividend of 260 pesos per share at its March 26 shareholders’ meeting.

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