April 29, 2019 / 7:55 AM / 7 months ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Gazprom reports doubling of 2018 profit on record Europe sales

(Corrects dollar-based net profit figure in first paragraph)

By Vladimir Soldatkin

MOSCOW, April 29 (Reuters) - Russian gas producer Gazprom on Monday reported a doubling of annual net profit to 1.456 trillion roubles ($22.58 billion) led by record-high sales to Europe.

Gazprom is a lynchpin of Russia’s commodity-dependent economy with its sales accounting for over 5 percent of country’s $1.6 trillion annual gross domestic product.

Last year, Gazprom’s exports to European countries and Turkey reached a record-high of almost 202 billion cubic metres despite calls from the European Commission for EU states to diversify away from Russian energy imports amid wider political tensions.

Gazprom has been going through an unprecedented management reshuffle which saw exports boss Alexander Medvedev and Andrey Kruglov, who oversaw the company’s finances, leaving the company.

Alexei Miller, who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is still at the company’s helm.

The reasons behind the high-profile departures have not been revealed. Some analysts and sources have pointed to internal infighting and poor results of some of the company’s units, namely Gazprom Marketing & Trading.

After record-high gas exports to Europe last year, Gazprom’s exports have declined this year, partly due to warmer weather. Gas sales to Europe account for almost 70 percent of Gazprom’s gas revenue.

Gazprom’s share of the European gas market rose to a record high 36.7 percent last year from 34.7 percent in 2017.

Revenue rose to 8.22 trillion roubles from 6.55 trillion in 2017, the company said. ($1 = 64.4950 roubles) (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Andrey Kuzmin; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin and Maria Tsvetkova; editing by Louise Heavens and Jason Neely)

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