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Repsol Reports First-Quarter Net Profit Rise of 3%

Oil and energy company Repsol said Monday first-quarter net profit rose 3%, backed by lower Spanish taxes and improved margins at the company's refining operations.

Madrid-based Repsol, Spain's sixth-largest company by market value, said net profit was 888 million euros ($1.2 billion) for the three months to March 31, compared with 862 million euros in the same period a year ago.

Adjusted net profit, the measure most closely watched by analysts, stood at 838 million euros ($1.13 billion) in the period, compared with 844 million euros a year earlier.

Repsol said its operating result fell 12.3% to 1.41 billion euros ($1.9 billion), hurt by a 32% tumble in the operating result of the oil and gas exploration and production division, affected by higher costs, lower oil prices and a weaker U.S. dollar.

However, the company posted solid growth in operating results in its refining and chemicals divisions, in line with rivals such as Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and Exxon Mobil.

The operating result of Repsol's refining division rose 5.6% to 637 million euros ($861 million), while that of the chemicals division more than doubled to 88 million euros ($119 million).

Repsol's total output fell 4% in the quarter to 1.08 million barrels of oil equivalent a day, compared with the first quarter of 2006. This continues a recent trend caused by contract renegotiations in Venezuela and lower oil output in Argentina, where Repsol-YPF has over half of its reserves.

Repsol's shares were up 0.7% at 25.44 euros ($34.42) in morning trading in Madrid on Monday. They have lost some 4% so far this year, amid growing concern over falling profits and output, and increased political pressure on the company's Latin American operations.

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