UPDATE 1-Rosneft 2012 profit below forecasts, cash flow halved

Fri Feb 1, 2013 1:03pm GMT

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* Rosneft says 2012 net income up 7 pct to 342 bln rbls

* Free cash flow down 54.5 percent to 45 bln rbls

* TNK-BP's $55 bln takeover to be closed in H1

MOSCOW, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Rosneft, Russia's No.1 oil producer, reported on Friday a forecast-missing 7 percent increase in 2012 net profit, while free cash flow halved ahead of its $55 billion takeover of TNK-BP, sending its shares down.

Rosneft's shares fell 2.3 percent, underperforming a 0.1 percent decline in the Moscow market as the state oil major joined gas export monopoly Gazprom in delivering weak cash flow numbers symptomatic of heavy investment.

Rosneft reported a 54.5 percent drop in free cash flow to 45 billion roubles ($1.5 billion), although its acquisition of cash-generative TNK-BP will bolster its ability to repay $30 billion in acquisition loans for Russia's largest takeover.

The deal to buy TNK-BP from BP and the AAR consortium of Soviet-born billionaires is expected to close in the first half of the year.

Rosneft's 2012 net income increased to 342 billion roubles ($11.4 billion) thanks to a rise in production and oil prices, but missed analyst forecasts.

Analysts polled by Reuters expected full-year net income of 347 billion roubles..

Revenues increased 13 percent to 3.1 trillion roubles, the company said in a statement, in line with expectations.

Last year, Brent crude hit a record average price of $112 per barrel, but some global majors, including ConocoPhillips , reported a fall in core earnings as oil has become harder to find and more expensive to extract.

Rosneft's earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) declined 8 percent to 609 billion roubles in 2012, compared to a Reuters poll forecast of 596 billion roubles.

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