PDVSA 2004 Profit Up 52%

Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA reported net profits of US$5.00bn in 2004, up more than 52% from US$3.28bn in 2003, according to newly published audited financial statements.

The delay in publishing audited financial statements was caused by the 2002-03 oil workers strike, company president Rafael Ramirez said in an open letter published with the results on PDVSA's website. Ramirez declined on Wednesday morning to comment on the results.

The company's main line of income, exports of "crude and its products," totaled US$61.0bn in 2004, up from US$4.18bn in 2003, according to the audited figures.

PDVSA had to purchase crude in 2004 to keep some of its refineries in the US and Europe operating. The company has since promised to discontinue the practice.

Purchases of crude and products totaled US$25.4bn in 2004 compared to US$21.0bn in the previous year. Operational expenses increased to US$13.4bn in 2004 from US$9.37bn in 2003.

The company reported earnings before taxes of US$10.1bn in 2004 compared to US$4.60bn in 2003. In 2004, PDVSA paid taxes of US$5.06bn against US$1.32bn in 2003.

Auditors Alcaraz, Cabrera, Vasquez of KPMG International audited the financials.


"Expenses for sales, management and generals" increased more than 33% to US$1.20bn in 2004 from US$898mn the previous year, while "expenses for social development" soared to US$1.24bn from US$249mn.

President Hugo Chavez's political opposition has criticized PDVSA's social programs as attempts to influence the electorate unduly.

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