By Nathan Allen
BASF SE's (BAS.XE) oil-and-gas subsidiary Wintershall AG said Wednesday its 2017 net profit almost doubled, thanks to higher hydrocarbon prices and increased earnings from its share in a Russian natural-gas field.
Net profit for the year was 719 million euros ($889.8 million) compared with EUR362 million a year earlier, while sales rose 17% to EUR3.24 billion, the company said.
Wintershall said its earnings before interest and taxes, or EBIT, climbed to EUR1.04 billion from EUR499 million a year earlier, due partly to the reversal of impairments.
Improved management of exploration and technology projects, and cost-cutting measures also helped improve profitability, Wintershall said.
BASF and LetterOne's intended merger of Wintershall with DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG should provide further momentum in 2018, and the company will also begin exploration operations in Brazil, it said.
"We expect a considerable increase in sales and Ebit before special items, driven by positive price effects and the start of production at fields in Norway," said Chief Executive Mario Mehren.
The company started production at the Maria field in the Norwegian Sea in December, one year ahead of schedule.
"Our plans for 2018 are based on an average crude oil price (Brent) of $65 per barrel and an average exchange rate of $1.20 per euro," Mehren said.
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