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UPDATE 1-Russia's Novatek swings to first quarter profit

(Adds detail, analyst comment)

MOSCOW, April 28 (Reuters) - Novatek, Russia’s largest producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), swung to a first-quarter net profit of 65.2 billion roubles ($873.3 million) from a loss of 30.7 billion roubles in the same period of 2020, it said on Wednesday.

Novatek said the main factors behind the improved results were better macroeconomic conditions, which resulted in an increase in the sale price of hydrocarbons, as well as a rise in natural gas and gas condensate production volumes.

It said a cold winter also spurred demand for hydrocarbons, while the pandemic remained a key uncertainty factor.

Novatek’s shares were down 1.8% at 1235 GMT, following the broader Moscow stock market, which is off an all-time high reached on Tuesday.

“The results look solid to us, but the market reaction could be limited. The outlook for 2021 is improving, and we expect some guidance updates during the call scheduled for tomorrow,” said Mitch Jennings, a senior analyst at Moscow-based Sova Capital.

“TTF hub prices (benchmark European gas prices) are near a three-month high at $276/mcm, and this along with strong oil prices should boost even long-term contract prices in 2Q21, we think.”

Novatek’s total revenues and normalised core earnings (EBITDA), including its share of EBITDA in joint ventures, increased to 244.6 billion roubles and 143.8 billion roubles, or by 32.5% and 42.9%, respectively, compared with the corresponding period in 2020.

$1 = 74.6580 roubles Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Anton Kolodyazhnyy. Editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter

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