May 4, 2018 / 9:05 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Higher oil price boosts profit for Spain's Repsol

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MADRID, May 4 (Reuters) - Spanish oil major Repsol posted an 8 percent year-on-year increase in adjusted first-quarter net profit on Friday, as higher Brent oil prices and increased production offset lower refining margins.

Repsol said higher prices for oil and gas, including a 24 percent rise in Brent over the year, helped push recurring net profit adjusted for one-off gains and inventory effects (CCS net profit) to 616 million euros ($737.6 million) in January-March.

This compared with 570 million euros in the same period of the previous year, and was in line with median forecast of 615 million euros drawn from six analysts polled by Reuters.

Production rose to 727 barrels per day from 693 a year ago, but the refining margin fell to $6.6 a barrel versus $7.1 a barrel in the first quarter of last year.

Europe’s fifth-largest refiner by market value has focused on cost and debt reduction to improve its balance sheet in recent years, leading to credit rating upgrades.

Repsol said on Friday its first-quarter results were supported by a decrease in financial costs.

Net debt rose 569 million euros from the fourth quarter, to 6.8 billion euros, mainly due to a share buyback undertaken to allow the payment of a scrip dividend.

Credit risk in Venezuela, where political turmoil has led to economic collapse and hyperinflation, prompted a writedown of 433 million euros.

Repsol shares were at 15.96 euros by 0845 GMT, up 0.4 from Thursday’s close.

$1 = 0.8354 euros Reporting by Jose Elias Rodriguez and Isla Binnie; editing by David Evans

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