Petrobras earnings soar on oil price rise, weaker currency
(Changes headline, adds net debt figure)
RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Brazil's state-controlled
oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA reported a surge
in third-quarter net profit, helped by a pick-up in oil prices
and the weakening of the real currency, the company said on
Petrobras made a net profit of 6.644 billion reais ($1.78
billion), well above the 266 million reais it posted a year
earlier. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation
and amortization (EBITDA) rose to 29.856 billion reais from
19.223 billion in the same period last year.
Petrobras said its growing share of the domestic diesel
market also contributed to the strong earnings, as a diesel
subsidy program put in place in June to quell a truckers' strike
over rising fuel costs hit the company's competitors.
Petrobras said it received 1.6 billion reais from the
government as part of the second phase of the subsidy program,
which is set to end in December.
But the state oil group said its performance was hit by the
payment of a $853.2 million fine to settle charges by U.S
authorities that former executives and directors of the company
broke U.S. anti-corruption laws.
Still, the deal represented another major step for the oil
company in removing legal uncertainty left over from the
so-called Car Wash investigation which revealed a graft scheme
that cost the state-run company billions of dollars.
Net debt at the world's most indebted listed oil company
rose slightly to 291.834 billion reais ($78.30 billion) from
284.027 billion reais in the second quarter. Petrobras managed
to lower its net debt to EBITDA ratio to 2.96 from 3.23 in the
second quarter, as it seeks to reach 2.5 by year-end.
The company's efforts to sell off $21 billion in assets in
the 2017-2018 period have been hampered by legal hurdles and
union resistance, but it could offload another $20 billion
through 2019, a source told Reuters last month.
Petrobras said cash flow reached 21.925 billion reais ($5.88
billion) in the quarter while sales revenue grew to 98.26
billion reais, up from 71.822 billion in the same period last
($1 = 3.7269 reais)
(Reporting by Alexandra Alper; editing by Jason Neely and Jane
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