Brazil’s Petrobras, World’s 7th Largest Firm Is Americas’ 2nd Most Profitable

Petrobras presalt exploration Brazil’s state-controlled oil and gas multinational Petrobras was the second most-profitable company in the Americas in 2009 ahead of corporations such as Chevron, GE and Microsoft according to a study released Monday.

The Brazilian registered a 2009 net profit of US$ 16.645 billion when converted to dollars, financial consultancy Economática said. Last week Petrobras announced it earned a net profit of 28.9 billion Brazilian Reais in 2009.

The 2009 net profit figure would place Petrobras second in the US and Latin America behind the US$ 19.28 billion net profit recorded by US oil major Exxon Mobil Corp.

Microsoft Corp. was the third most-profitable company in 2009 at US$ 16.258 billion, followed by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. at US$ 13.495 and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) at US$ 13.425, according to Economática.

Petrobras jumped from fifth to second place this year in spite of the fact that its profits were down 12% compared to 2008 when the company appeared behind Exxon-Mobil, Chevron-Texaco, General Electric and Microsoft.

The Brazilian energy giant is also the only non-US corporation among the twenty most profitable corporations.

In related news Petrobras announced that it was boosting its investments for the next five years through 2014 to US$ 220 billion, compared to the US$ 174 billion for 2009/2013 according to chief financial officer Almir Barbassa.

Petrobras aims to invest in 2010 more than any other oil company, including Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp., seeks to sell shares this year as part of a plan to swap stock for oil off Brazil’s coast.

Barbassa said oil exploration and production will take up a bigger share in the spending plan. This year, Petrobras will invest 88.5 billion Reais, Barbassa said.

Petrobras may sell up to US$ 40 billion in new stock, most of which will go to the government in exchange for the oil rights, Luciano Coutinho, president of Brazil’s state development bank and Petrobras biggest minority shareholder, said earlier this month.

Petrobras took advantage of surging oil prices as it boosted output and started producing at deepwater offshore fields. Oil futures in New York jumped 78% last year, the biggest gain since 1999. The company’s production touched a monthly record in the fourth quarter. Sales fell 8.6% to 47.6 billion reais.

Petrobras, the world’s seventh-largest company with a market value of about 340 billion reais, has risen 25% in the past 12 months in São Paulo trading, less than the 72% gain in the benchmark Bovespa index.

Mercopress

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