Gazprom third quarter net profit rises 68 percent

Russia's state-controlled natural gas monopoly &to=' target=_blank>Gazprom announced Monday that its third quarter net profit surged 68 percent from the same period a year earlier, boosted by an extraordinary gain from sales to Ukraine.

OAO Gazprom, the largest gas company in the world, said that third quarter net profits were 79.32 billion rubles (US$2.82 billion, Ђ2.33 billion) up from 47.124 billion rubles (US$1.67 billion, Ђ1.39 billion) in the same period a year earlier, according to a statement on its Web site.

It said its net profit for the first nine months of 2005 stood at 232.13 billion rubles (US$8.25 billion, Ђ6.82 billion), up from 139.38 billion rubles for the first nine months of 2004.

Dow Jones Newswires reported that this represented a 29-percent rise on 61.6 billion rubles earned in the second quarter, far above analysts' forecasts of a rise of 2.7 percent in net profit.

Analysts were surprised by an extraordinary gain generated by the sale of more than 4 billion cubic meters (140 cubic feet) of gas in storage in Ukraine, at prices three times higher than agreed contract prices.

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