Gazprom Profit Soars 83%

Gazprom is estimated to control about a quarter of world natural gas reserves and supplies about a quarter of the European Union's gas needs.

Russia's Gazprom energy giant said on Dec. 30 its net profit for the first half of 2008 soared 83%, boosted by gains on the sale of a bank it owned.

Net profit for the six months to June came to 573.75 billion rubles (US$19.5 billion).

Sales in the first six months jumped 52.4% over the same period last year, reaching about $59 billion. "The main influence on financial indicators" was the sale in June of part of Gazprom's share in Gazprombank, it said.

Gazprom is estimated to control about a quarter of world natural gas reserves and supplies about a quarter of the European Union's gas needs.

The company is locked in a dispute with Ukraine over unpaid debts and has warned it could cut supplies to Ukraine, an important transit route to Europe, if a resolution is not found by a New Year deadline.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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