MILAN (Reuters) - Italian energy company Eni reported its best quarterly profits in two years on Wednesday buoyed by higher oil prices and production and confirmed its full-year targets.
Adjusted net profit for the first quarter rose to 744 million euros ($810 million) from breakeven a year earlier and topped the 610 million expected by analysts.
Like many of its peers, state-controlled Eni has benefited from higher crude prices after a two-year price downturn that rocked the industry.
BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron and Total have all beaten analysts’ profit forecasts for the quarter.
CEO Claudio Descalzi confirmed Eni’s targets for the year, and noted first-quarter cash generation of 2.6 billion euros was its strongest performance in seven quarters.
“We expect that in 2017 organic cash generation, coupled with proceeds from disposals, will allow us to fully fund our capex and dividend requirements at an oil price well below the current level,” Descalzi said.
Eni, which in recent years has made major gas finds in Mozambique and Egypt, holds one of the best discovery track records in the industry.
On Wednesday it confirmed production would grow by 5 percent this year to 1.84 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) lifted by start-ups in Egypt and Kazakhstan.
In the first quarter Eni produced 1.795 million boed, up 2.3 percent from a year earlier.
Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; editing by Jason Neely