* Q1 net profit up to $3.79 bn vs expected $3.07 bn
* Net profit rises on higher hydrocarbon prices, currency translations
* Jan-Mar sales up 19 pct to $35.26 bn (Updates with details)
MOSCOW, May 28 (Reuters) - Russia’s No.2 oil producer LUKOIL reported on Monday a forecast-beating 7.7 percent increase in first-quarter earnings to $3.79 billion, with higher oil prices helping to offset a slight fall in production.
LUKOIL said its first-quarter sales grew 19 percent to $35.26 billion from $29.63 billion in the year-earlier period, while analysts had expected sales to rise to $35.21 billion.
Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased 0.1 percent to $5.35 billion from $5.34 billion a year ago.
The company also said its first quarter crude oil and natural gas liquids fell 1.7 pct to 169.0 million barrels.
“The increase in our net income was mainly due to an increase in hydrocarbon prices in the first quarter of 2012,” the company said in a statement.
The average Urals Mediterranean crude price was $117 per barrel in the first quarter of 2012, up 14 percent from a year-earlier period, according to company data.
LUKOIL, Russia’s largest private oil producer, also said its net income was supported by a decrease of income tax expenses due to currency translation losses reported by its Russian units.
At the same time its earnings were affected by a rise in extraction tax and export duty expenses, the company said.
Analysts polled by Reuters had expected the company’s net profit to drop 13 pct to $3.07 billion
The company’s shares were up 1.6 percent to 1,666 roubles in Moscow trading, slightly outperforming the broader MICEX index which was up 1.2 pct. (Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk, Editing by Douglas Busvine)