Petrobras posts 57 percent Q1 profits increase

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) –


Brazil's state-controlled oil company Petrobras announced Tuesday a 57 percent rise in first quarter profits to 6.96 billion reais ($1.96 billion), a surge fueled by asset sales and strengthening crude prices.

This was the best quarterly result since 2013, before the flagship Brazilian company took center stage in the country's biggest ever corruption scandal, known as "Car Wash."

EBITDA (adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) rose two percent over the first quarter of 2017 to 25.669 billion reais.

Petrobras said its strong January-March returns were in part thanks to higher oil prices, at $66.8 a barrel, compared to $53.8 a year ago.

Sale of stakes in offshore fields, such as Lapa, Iara and Carcara in the Santos basin, brought in 3.223 billion reais.

The company posted net losses of 446 million reais ($139.7 million) for 2017, reflecting continued fallout from the "Car Wash" corruption scandal, but sharply improving on the previous year.

The company said it would have returned to profit in 2017 but for extraordinary expenses, including a 11.2 billion reais payout to settle a class action lawsuit in New York filed by shareholders in the wake of the graft scandal.

The other big cost was 10.4 billion reais to regularize debts to Brazil's government.