Colombian state-controlled oil company Ecopetrol SA booked a net profit of 1.61 trillion Colombian pesos ($715 million) in
the first quarter, 30% less than in the same period in 2008 as oil
prices fell, the company said Wednesday.
The profit per share was COP39.76 in the first quarter.
The first-quarter net profit is higher than the COP1.25 trillion
expected by five analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires in late April.
Ecopetrol’s Chief Executive Javier Gutierrez said the company
managed to keep a “satisfactory operating margin” despite of declining
crude and gas prices.”
Ecopetrol’s total sales revenue in the year fell 28% to COP5.24 trillion from COP7.23 trillion in the first quarter 2008.
Ecopetrol produced 458,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day in the
first quarter, up from 431,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day in the
same period in 2008.
Those numbers don’t include the production from recently acquired operations, Ecopetrol said.
During the first quarter, Ecopetrol invested COP3.58 trillion to expand existing operations and to take over other companies.
So far this year, Ecopetrol has acquired 50% of Peru’s Petrotech
Peruana SA for $450 million, a 51% stake in a Cartagena refinery from
Swiss commodity company Glencore International AG for $549 million and
the Colombian unit of France’s Etablissements Maurel et Prom (5107.FR)
for $748 million. The company also bought a stake in an oil pipeline
from Enbridge Inc. (ENB) for $418 million.
The company plans to invest more than $6.22 billion this year as part of a $60 billion program over the years 2008-2015.
The company plans to take debt from markets and commercial banks
for $3.7 billion to finance its expansion plan. Ecopetrol will also use
part of its cashflow.
The Colombian government owns 89.9% of Ecopetrol.
Ecopetrol’s shares fell 0.9% to COP2,285 on Wednesday, while the
benchmark IGBC stock index lost 1.4%. Ecopetrol released its earnings
report after the marklet had closed. (Dow Jones)