It seems Lukoil (OTC BB: LUKOY) has a bone to pick with the Russian government, according to its latest press release:
"LUKOIL's income tax payments rose by 43.6% in comparison with the same period of 2004. Other taxes, which include excise and export tariffs, were $3.07 billion. This is almost double the taxes reported in the same period a year earlier."
Quit your bellyaching, Lukoil. Sure, the $3.5 billion Russia charged you in excises, tariffs and income taxes in Q1 2005 took a sizeable bite out of your profits for the quarter. But it could have been a lot worse. ConsiderYUKOS (OTC BB: YUKOY), for instance -- if you can find any of it left.
Try to look on the bright side instead. After all the taxes, and the tax-like charges that Russia piled on top of them, you still made out pretty well for the quarter. Revenues rose 62%, while EBITDA increased 39%. Net profits soared 44% to a whopping $1.2 billion in three months. Not too shabby, though I'm sure the 47% year-over-year increase in the price of Urals crude helped. Why, your own president, Vagit Alekperov, deemed the results Lukoil's best ever. So I suspect that investors won't be punishing your stock too much, even though Mr. Putin's taxman pulled you up short of analyst estimates.
Investors will also appreciate that Lukoil was the first Russian oil company (with a foreign-trading ADR, at least) to post results reflecting Russia's heightened tax demands in fiscal 2005. As such, your company served as a bellwether for the Russian oil industry.
If $10.6 billion in revenues engendered non-income tax excises of $3.1 billion for Lukoil, the resulting ratio allows investors to calculate the likely tax effect on other Russian oil companies later this quarter. For Rosneft. Or Gazprom (OTC BB: OGZPF), which everyone will be watching, with the company's shares slated to trade freely some time next year. Lukoil's tax bite should also have some impact on the results of major shareholder ConocoPhillips
Roughly speaking, it looks like 29% of revenues go directly to the state treasury before pre-tax profits are even calculated. While that may not make Lukoil or its investors very happy, it makes Russian oil analysts' jobs a whole lot easier.
For further Foolishness:
Apparently, the Russian government is grabbing 90% of the profits for every dollar made on oil selling over $25 a barrel. What do you think this means for investors in the country's oil sector? Head on over to our Investing in the FSU board and share your thoughts.
Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares in any company mentioned above.