Petrobras Energía Participaciones Halves Q1 Profits

Argentine energy sector holding company Petrobras Energía Participaciones (NYSE: PZE) posted an 82mn-peso (US$27.9mn) net profit for the first quarter 2004, down 48.7% from 160mn pesos in 1Q03, the company said in a statement Monday.

Despite an 18.1% increase in sales costs to 861mn pesos, gross profit increased 23.2% to 584mn pesos after net sales increased 20.1% to 584mn pesos. However, higher administrative, selling and exploration costs relative to 1Q03 pushed net operating profit down 0.63% to 316mn pesos in the first three months of this year.

Financial losses increased to 258mn pesos in 1Q04 from 9mn pesos a year earlier, mainly due to the behavior of the exchange rate in the respective periods and the 86% increase in the future curve of oil prices, which led to lower valuation of the market value of derivative instruments, the statement said.

Results by business sector were as follows:


A 12.4% increase in oil and gas sales to 160,900 barrels of oil equivalent a day (boe/d) was the main reason behind an 11.4% rise in 1Q04 net sales to 780mn pesos. Oil sales increased 18% by volume to 115,200 barrels a day (b/d), mainly because of the effects of Venezuela's strike in 1Q03. Gas sales stayed constant at 275 million cubic feet a day.


Net sales increased 21% to 375mn pesos due to the combined effect of increased sales volumes and lower prices. In line with a strategic decision to increase refining output, processing volumes increased 26% to 35,500b/d. Sales volumes increased 17%, and because of changes made to optimize marketing margins, domestic sales increased 29% on higher diesel and gasoline sales to other oil companies, while exports fell 5% from 1Q03. Total diesel sales by volume increased 16% to 214,000 cubic meters, with a 23% increase in the domestic market. Total gasoline sales volumes increased 94%, with a 600% increase in exports and a 64% increase in the domestic market. Asphalt sales volumes increased 93%, with domestic sales growing 82% and the export market increasing 121%. Aromatics and paraffin sales increased 21% and 19 respectively.


Net sales increased 2.94% to 315mn pesos, gross profit increased 11.1% to 80mn pesos and operating income increased 15.6% to 52mn pesos. Domestic economic growth in Argentina favored local sales over exports, although total sales were virtually unchanged, at 162,000 tons.


Net sales increased to 208mn pesos from 9mn pesos in 1Q03, gross profits to 69mn pesos from zero 12 months earlier and operating income was 64mn pesos, after only 2mn pesos in 1Q03. The sector was affected by structural changes within the company.


Net sales increased 15.3% to 180mn pesos, gross profits fell 27.6% to 21mn pesos and operating income fell 69.2% to 4mn pesos. Sales from thermoelectric plants were higher in the year-on-year comparison because of low water levels affecting hydro plants. Total sales volumes increased 11.4% to 1,508GWh,with a 15.8% increase in thermoelectric generation to 1,289GWh and a 9.13% fall in hydroelectric generation to 219GWh. Petrobras Energía Participaciones is a subsidiary of Brazil's federal energy company Petrobras, which is scheduled to release its results Tuesday (May 11).

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