Gazprom Posts Pretax Profits of $6.4Bln Under IAS for 2001

Gazprom on Thursday released an incomplete picture of its 2001 financial results under international accounting standards that showed a 10 percent rise in pretax profits to 210.3 billion rubles ($6.38 billion).

The world's largest gas producer did not say what net profits totaled, but a Gazprom spokesman said the complete results would be available on the company's web site (www.gazprom.ru) in a couple of days.

"This isn't strange for Gazprom," said Pavel Kushnir at United Financial Group. "Gazprom likes to put out information in bits and pieces, whereas most Russian companies usually send out complete results right away," he said.

Overall, the reported figures were somewhat weaker than UFG expected.

Sales were down 3.5 percent to 619.3 billion rubles due to lower volumes and gas prices, the company said in a statement. The figure is equal to around $20.5 billion under the average exchange rate for last year and $19.6 billion at the present rate. Operational costs decreased by 10 percent to 483.3 billion rubles. The firm's operating profit rose 16 percent year on year to 183.8 billion rubles.

Regardless what net profit figure is released, it is unlikely to match the $10 billion posted in 2000. The 2000 profit figure was inflated by a one-off change in the taxable base. Taking this into account, Gazprom's 2002 profit came to about $2 billion.

Because Gazprom's financials involve many nonrecurring events, getting to a net profit figure from pretax profit is difficult, said Steven Dashevsky, an analyst at Aton Capital. He expects Gazprom to show a 2001 net profit adjusted for factors unrelated to the company's core business of $2.6 billion.

Gazprom issued the statement after its domestic shares closed up 1.46 percent to $0.84. Its American Depositary Receipts were up 2.6 percent to $13.37 during midday trading in London.

The announcement followed reports from Russian news agencies, which quoted unnamed Gazprom sources, that the gas giant planned a $750 million Eurobond in November after a successful placement of its first issue in April.