Gazprom profits up fivefold in 2015

Russia's top natural gas producer, Gazprom company
Russia's top natural gas producer, Gazprom company

Moscow - Russian gas giant Gazprom said Thursday its net profit grew almost fivefold in 2015 despite the falling oil price, partly due to a rise in exports and the rouble's plunge in value.

The state-controlled group during 2015 earned net profit of 787bn roubles ($12.2bn), higher than predicted by analysts interviewed by the Interfax news agency.

Gazprom in 2014 saw its profits plunge sevenfold to 159bn roubles, weighed down by fallout from the Ukraine crisis and the shrinking value of the rouble.

The company said in its latest annual results that there was a big increase in "finance income".

However its operating profit actually declined by 6 percent to 1.23trn roubles ($19.02bn), while its operating costs rose 18% to 4.6trn roubles ($71.78bn).

Gazprom's sales were up 9% to 6.07trn roubles ($94.03bn).

The gas giant attributed its success to the strength of its gas exports to the European Union and Turkey, which always account for most of its profits.

Those exports went up 24% partly due to a large increase in volumes and also because the average price of gas has risen 12% in Russian roubles, due to the plunge in the currency's value.

Exports to the former Soviet Union were up 4% but volumes fell 16% partly due to the gas dispute with neighbouring Ukraine. This was compensated by the price rise in roubles.

Gazprom's sales in Russia fell by 2% to 805.6bn roubles.

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