ENI operating profit down 51% in 2nd qtr at 1.95 bn euros

Q1 down 43% at 5.66 bn euros, better outlook for second half

ENI operating profit down 51% in 2nd qtr at 1.95 bn euros

Milan, August 1 - Italian oil-and-gas-multinational ENI on Thursday reported an adjusted operating profit of 1.95 billion euros in the second quarter, down 51% over the same period last year. The adjusted operating profit for the first half was 5.66 billion euros, down 43% compared to the first six months of 2012. ''First half results were affected by a difficult economic situation in Italy and Europe, production interruption in Libya and Nigeria and by the fall in Saipem's results,'' said ENI chief executive Paolo Scaroni, making reference to an ENI-controlled oil-and-gas contractor specialized in remote off-shore and deep sea project development. December's news of a corruption probe into Algerian contracts at Saipem prompted the ouster then CEO Pietro Franco Tali. At the end of January, a new management team shocked investors by announcing margins on contracts were far slimmer than expected, reducing expectations for results in both 2012 and 2013. Saipem, which is 43% owned by ENI, reported net loss of 685 million euros in the second quarter of 2013, while its net loss for the first six months amounted to 575 million euros. ''We expect a significant improvement in our second half results'' thanks to strategic divestments, operational progress on start-ups and renegotiation of contracts with Algeria's Sonatrach and Russia's Gazprom, Scaroni continued. ''On September 19, I will propose to ENI's Board of Directors an interim dividend of 0.55 per share,'' Scaroni concluded.

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