Thursday, November 15, 2007

Oil and Gas Giant OMV Posts Profit

Thursday November 15, 7:05 am ET

Austrian Oil and Gas Giant OMV Posts 40 Percent Jump in 3rd Quarter Net Profit

VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- OMV AG, Central Europe's largest oil and gas company, said Thursday its net profit jumped 40 percent in the third quarter due in part to high oil prices and increased gas production in Romania.

The Austrian petroleum giant said net profit for the three months ended Sept. 30 was $758 million, up from $541 million in the same period a year ago.

Earnings were strong despite a "mixed economic environment," CEO Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer said in a statement.

In September, OMV announced it was ready to make an offer to buy out Hungary's MOL oil company. That prompted the Hungarian parliament to enact legislation making it tougher for foreign firms to acquire companies deemed national strategic interests.

OMV owns more than 20 percent of MOL's shares.

Last spring, OMV angered the U.S. government by announcing a preliminary agreement with Iranian officials to develop Iran's Pars gas fields. Washington warned that the deal would undermine sanctions against Iran meant to keep it from obtaining nuclear weaponry.

OMV's holdings include a majority stake in Romania's Petrom, now known as OMV Petrom, which the Austrian company acquired in 2004.

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