* Novatek’s 2012 net income rose to 69.5 bln rbls
* Analysts say disappointed by Q4 numbers
* Shares fall 2.2 pct, underperform rising market (Adds detail, share price, analyst comment)
MOSCOW, March 7 (Reuters) - Russia’s No.2 gas producer Novatek on Thursday reported a 22.6 percent rise in net income for last year on the back of higher output and prices, beating analysts’ forecasts.
The company, owned by Russian billionaire Gennady Timchenko and its chief executive Leonid Mikhelson, made 2012 net profit of 69.5 billion roubles ($2.26 billion), which was above the average forecast of 68.85 billion in a Reuters poll.
Novatek did not publish results for the fourth quarter. Analysts who estimated its fourth quarter figures said they were below their expectations.
”Implied fourth quarter profit was below some forecasts, Alexei Kokin, analyst from Uralsib brokerage, said.
A Novatek spokesman declined to say if the company would publish the fourth-quarter results, but said it would hold a conference call next week where the issue could be addressed.
Novatek’s shares fell by more than 2 percent, underperforming a 0.15 percent rise in the broader market .
The company does not export its gas and sells only to the Russian domestic market, where prices are set by the government.
Novatek has been lobbying, so far without success, for the rights to export liquefied natural gas (LNG). Currently, Russia’s state-owned Gazprom has a legal monopoly on gas exports.
The 2011 reported net income did not include Novatek’s gain from a 20 percent stake sale in its Arctic liquefied natural gas project to France’s Total in 2011. Including this gain, Novatek’s 2011 income stood at 119.7 billion roubles.
Last year’s revenues grew by 20 percent to 211 billion roubles, Novatek said.
$1 = 30.7320 Russian roubles Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Jane Merriman