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14

Gazprom Sales Rose 19%, Profit Up 29%

Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom posted a higher-than-expected net income for 2004

Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom posted a higher-than-expected net income for 2004 on higher prices, but costs jumped 19 percent, Reuters reported.

The oil major blamed higher taxes and input costs as well as pay increases for the cost rise, and reported a $3 billion surge in total debt in the last three months of the year. But the profit beat analysts' expectations.

Gazprom profit rose 29 percent to $7.1 billion. Sales climbed 19 percent to $34 billion.

The company said operating expenses also rose by 19 percent as taxes soared by 37 billion roubles, cost of gas purchases by 40.9 billion, salaries by 22.7 billion and cost of material purchases by 20.5 billion roubles.

Total debt rose to $20.25 billion from $15.5 billion.