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Monday, August 28, 2006

Russian Gas Firm Disappoints Investors

Reuters reports that all is definitely not well on Russia's natural resources front:

Russia's Novatek falls short of expectations in Q2MOSCOW, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Russia's No.2 gas firm Novatek reported second quarter net profit and sales on Friday that fell well short of analysts' expectations. Second quarter IFRS net profit slid to 3.499 billion roubles ($130.6 million) from 5.608 billion roubles ($199 million) in the same period of 2005. A Reuters poll of eight analysts showed an average expectation of $150 million. Second quarter sales rose to 12.553 billion roubles ($468.5 million) from 9.154 billion roubles in the second quarter of 2005, below the average analyst estimate of $489 million. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell to 5.829 billion roubles ($217.6 million) in the quarter, 31 percent down year-on-year and below the average forecast of $236 million. The firm said operating expenses jumped 46 percent in the quarter to 7.672 billion roubles largely because of increases in non-controllable expenses such as production taxes and transport costs. The profit figure for the first half of the year also lagged analysts' expectations. Net profit was 7.216 billion roubles (269.4 million), below the anticipated $281 million and almost 9 percent lower than a year earlier. However, first half sales jumped to 24.170 billion roubles ($902.2 million), 35 percent higher than in the same period of 2005, and above analysts' average forecast of $884 million. Last year's profit figure was flattered by income from disposals of assets, and the firm said that if those disposals were excluded, profits rose by 577 million roubles ($21.54 million) in the second quarter, and by 1.979 billion roubles ($73.87 million) in the first half of the year. Novatek's London-listed global depository receipts, which had traded slightly up before the results were released, closed at $51, 1 percent down on the day.

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