Russia’s Gazprom Neft says 2018 net profit up 49%
Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russian gas producer Gazprom, yesterday reported a 48.7% jump in 2018 net profit to 376.7bn roubles ($5.8bn) buoyed by higher prices and output.Russia’s fastest-growing oil producer by output, Gazprom Neft said it expects production to rise by 2% this year despite a global deal to curb production.Output in 2018 rose 3.5% to 688.4mn barrels of oil equivalent, or 92.88mn tonnes.It reiterated a hydrocarbon production target of 100mn tonnes of oil equivalent by 2020 and expects oil prices of around $60 per barrel through to 2030 in its base scenario.Gazprom Neft reported a 45.1% jump in 2018 adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to 799.5bn roubles.Revenue rose by 28.7% to 2.49tn roubles on production, including shares in joint ventures. OTE said it will benefit from investments in advanced fixed and mobile telephony networks and stabilising revenue in Romania following one-off provisions and restructuring plans.Strong cash flow will raise payouts to shareholders, it said.OTE will pay a dividend of €0.46 per share on 2018 profit, up 31% rise compared to a year earlier.Heavy spending on new high-speed VDSL broadband services and a fast growing pay-TV business in Greece, where it generates about 90% of its core profit, have helped the group win back fixed-line customers.After implementing several voluntary redundancy schemes in past years, OTE said it is “systematically” exploring cost-reduction initiatives to boost profits across its businesses. Standard Chartered Standard Chartered PLC (StanChart) has set aside $900mn to cover fines resulting from regulatory investigations in the United States and Britain, potentially drawing a line under probes which have dogged the bank for years.News of the provision, made for the fourth quarter of last year, comes ahead of a strategy update from the bank along with its 2018 earnings results on Tuesday, when chief executive Bill Winters is widely expected to outline an overhaul of operations.In a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange yesterday, StanChart said the provision related to the potential resolution of US investigations into alleged violations of US sanctions, and for probes relating to foreign exchange trading.The filing is the first time the bank has quantified the possible cost of the investigations.Previously it said only in filings that it was “not practicable” to estimate the financial impact because the range of potential outcomes was too broad.StanChart also included in the provision a £102.2mn ($133.3mn) fine from Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority related to historical financial crime controls.It said it was considering its options in relation to the penalty.The British regulator declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.StanChart has been the subject of multiple investigations by US authorities into its dealings with Iran, which is the subject of heavy US sanctions.In 2012, the bank agreed to pay $667mn to settle alleged sanctions breaches from 2001 through 2007.It also agreed deferred prosecution agreements with the Department of Justice and New York County District Attorney’s Office.The agreements were extended to March 31 this year in December 2018.The current investigations are examining the extent to which the bank allowed clients with Iranian interests to conduct transactions after 2007, as well as the extent to which it shared such dealings with authorities at the time of the 2012 settlement.In October, Winters said US authorities were also investigating whether StanChart breached Iran-related compliance rules as recently as 2013.Media reports last year said London-based StanChart faced a possible $1.5bn fine for Iran-related sanctions violations.The 2018 provision will reduce profit at the bank, which analyst estimates had previously put at $3.9bn, Refinitiv data showed. Bouygues French conglomerate Bouygues predicted an increase in earnings for 2019 and growth at its telecoms arm after posting higher 2018 profits that lifted its shares.The family-controlled group has recently had problems at its construction division which have been offset by the strength of its telecoms unit.However, Bouygues said all its main businesses, including construction arms such as Colas, improved in the fourth quarter.Bouygues’ current operating profits rose 7.5% from a year earlier to €1.51bn, while sales rose 8% to €35.56bn.Core earnings at Bouygues Telecom, France’s third-biggest mobile operator which Bouygues failed to merge with market leader Orange in 2016, rose by 171mn euros from a year earlier to €1.27bn.For 2019, Bouygues said it hoped to improve group profits and generate some 300mn euros of free cash flow at Bouygues Telecom.