MILAN, Dec 3 (Reuters) – Italian oil services firm Saipem may lose 1.25 billion euros ($1.55 billion) in revenue in 2015 due to Russia's apparent cancellation of the South Stream gas pipeline project, CEO Umberto Vergine told daily Il Sole 24 Ore in an interview.
Russia on Monday scrapped the pipeline project to supply gas to southern Europe without crossing Ukraine. However, Saipem said on Tuesday it had not yet received formal notice of the termination of any South Stream contracts and operations were still underway.
In the interview published on Wednesday, Vergine also said that 2015 would still be a year of transition for the company and more time would be needed than initially expected to recover profitability and cut debt.
A Saipem spokeswoman confirmed the interview.
"2015 was supposed to be the year when we stabilise our performance but instead the road will still be uphill," Vergine told the paper. "If you also consider the drop in the crude oil price, the impact of these factors will not be marginal."
Saipem shares were volatile, with the stock up 0.9 percent at 10.1 euros by 0828 GMT, after dipping into negative territory earlier. The stock fell more than 10 percent on Tuesday to a level last seen in 2008.
South Stream's demise is the latest blow for a group which lost half its stock market value last year following two profit warnings, and cut this year's profit forecast in July. (1 US dollar = 0.8084 euro)
(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Richard Pullin and Louise Heavens)
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