Higher oil prices, Libya ops boost Repsol profit

Spanish oil company Repsol YPF SA said Thursday its first-quarter net profit--including its Argentine unit--grew 3.5% on the year, largely due to higher oil prices and production in Libya returning to relatively normal levels.

Operations restarted late last year in Libya after ceasing in early 2011 and for the duration of that country's civil war. The company said operations there had largely returned to their pre-war levels.

The earnings update is the first since Argentina, led by President Cristina Kirchner, nationalized 51% of YPF SA  the country's leading oil and gas company, in early May. That left Repsol with a 6.4% stake in YPF.

Repsol decided to also provide figures excluding YPF in its earnings statement, even though the Argentine unit had not yet been nationalized in the first quarter.

The company said net profit in the three months to March 31 including YPF was EUR792 million, up from EUR765 million in the same period of 2011.

Recurring replacement-cost-adjusted net profit, the figure most closely watched by analysts because it strips out volatile swings in the value of inventories, including YPF fell 3% to EUR635 million from EUR654 million a year earlier.

Adjusted to exclude the recently nationalized YPF division--whose earnings Repsol previously had been consolidating as if it owned 100% of the company--Repsol's net profit climbed 12.4% in the first quarter to EUR643 million, from EUR572 million in the same period of last year.

Excluding YPF, the recurring replacement-cost-adjusted net profit increased 4% to EUR474 million, from EUR456 million a year ago.

Repsol shares closed at EUR13.13 on Wednesday.

(Source: MarketWatch)

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