Thursday, April 30, 2009
Bad debts slug Gazprom numbers
04-29-2009 - Upstream OnLine - Russian gas giant Gazprom's profit attributable to shareholders for 2008 came in at 742.9 billion roubles ($22 billion), missing forecasts, with its bottom line hit by bad debts. The profit was equivalent to $29.9 billion at 2008's average rouble rate of 24.81 per dollar. The rouble has fallen sharply since the start of the fourth quarter. In rouble terms, profits rose 13% from the previous year. Analysts had forecast 815 billion roubles in profit attributable to shareholders. The company booked a charge of 48.4 billion roubles on its utility assets, mostly on accounts receivable. Utility industry executives say non-payments are soaring as key consumers struggle to meet wage bills and keep their plants running. Gazprom, Russia's biggest borrower on external markets, cut its leverage from 1.38 times adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation to 0.7 times, largely by deconsolidating banking arm Gazprombank. The state company's share of Gazprombank's losses for the year amounted to 37 billion roubles, Gazprom said.