BUCHAREST May 11 (Reuters) - Romania's top oil and gas company Petrom (SNPP.BX: Quote) posted a 4.6 percent rise in first-quarter net profit on Wednesday, due to higher oil prices and cost cuts.
Profit rose to 840 million lei ($275.1 million), above the average forecast in a Reuters poll of 832.8 million lei. Petrom, controlled by Austria's OMV (OMVV.VI: Quote), recorded a net profit of 803 million lei in January-March 2010.
"During the first quarter of 2011, we continued to benefit from the favorable crude price environment and the effects of previously implemented cost savings measures," Petrom CEO Mariana Gheorghe said in a statement.
Petrom said it expected the Romanian economy to crawl out of recession in 2011 and consumption to grow marginally.
The Urals crude price, the reference oil price for Romania, was 36 percent higher on the year in the first quarter, the firm said.
Shares were up 0.12 percent to 0.4160 lei by 0810 GMT, while the wider blue-chip BET index was flat.
The company, which has recently decided to expand into electricity production, said a gas-fired power plant and wind park will be operational in the second half of 2011, but they were not expected to bring a