LUKoil's Q3 Beats Predictions

LUKoil, the country's second-largest oil company, reported higher-than-expected third-quarter results on Thursday but cut its capital expenditures plan for next year because of unfavorable market conditions.

LUKoil said in a statement that its third-quarter net profit rose to $3.47 billion, up by 40 percent from $2.48 billion in the same period last year and beating the average forecast of $3.35 billion in a Reuters poll of 14 analysts.

LUKoil said the increase was supported by oil prices that were higher than last year, bigger refining volumes and higher refining profitability.

The firm said revenues increased to $32.56 billion, up by 52.7 percent from $21.32 billion in the third quarter of 2007.

Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, rose to $5.57 billion from $4.02 billion a year ago .

However, LUKoil's third-quarter net profit and EBITDA were weaker than those in the previous quarter, before oil prices started their rapid drop.

LUKoil's net profit stood at $4.13 billion in the second quarter of 2008, while EBITDA was $6.24 billion.

The company said it would cut its planned capital expenditures in 2009 to $9.7 billion from an earlier forecast of $11.2 billion because of unfavorable market conditions.

LUKoil's shares closed up 2.84 percent at 974.96 rubles on the MICEX in Thursday trade.