World newswires

Russia's Gazprom reports hefty Q1 loss on weak ruble, oil

Russian energy giant Gazprom on Tuesday reported a significant first-quarter loss after years of profits due to the depreciation of the ruble and low oil prices.

The state-controlled group recorded a net loss of 116 billion rubles ($1.6 billion) in the first quarter compared to profits of 536 billion rubles recorded over the same period last year.

The company said its revenue was down 24 percent to 1.7 trillion rubles, mainly due to a decrease in sales of gas to Europe and other countries.

Gazprom deputy chairman Famil Sadygov attributed the losses to "extremely unfavourable" market conditions, pointing to a sharp depreciation of the ruble amid the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices.

"In these conditions the financial results shown by the company in the first quarter can be considered -- I will put it carefully -- not bad," he said in a statement.

Oil prices have slumped since the beginning of the year due to the coronavirus pandemic that has sapped demand as countries around the world have put their populations under lockdown.

Compounding the problem, key players Russia and Saudi Arabia were locked in a price war and ramped up output in a bid to hold on to market share and undercut US shale producers.

"Gazprom managed to quickly adapt to the sharp changes this year," Sadygov added. "A set of measures to cut costs has been quickly developed."

Gazprom announced a 17 percent drop in net profit last year compared to 2018, over lower prices and falling sales to Europe.

The company said it generated net profits of 1.2 trillion rubles in 2019.