Gazprom first-half profits plunge 49.8%

Gazprom first-half profits plunge 49.8%

Moscow: Russian energy giant Gazprom, the world’s largest gas firm, said Monday its net profits plunged 49.8% in the first half of 2009 compared to a year earlier due to higher expenses.

Half-year profits fell to 305.8 billion rubles ($10.6 billion), compared to 609.4 billion rubles ($21 billion) in the first six months of 2008, the company said in a statement.

It said net income dropped 6.6% on a year earlier to 1.6 trillion rubles ($56.6 billion).

Sales of gas to Europe and other states had increased 6% as higher prices across the world compensated for drastic falls in export volumes, it said.

At the same time, operating expenses and financial charges rose sharply as the cost of purchased gas soared 105%, reflecting an increase in prices for gas from Central Asia.