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Moscow — Russia’s largest private oil company, Lukoil, said on Monday that its net profit rose by 75% in the first quarter of the year on an annual comparison due to exceptional exchange-rate effects. The 109.1-billion rouble ($1.75bn) company was down nearly 10% from January to the end of March compared with the end of 2017, however, due to writing down the value of equipment. Sales rose nearly 14% year-on-year to 1.63-trillion roubles, mainly due to higher oil prices. Crude prices tumbled to under $30 per barrel at the beginning of 2016 before Opec, Russia and a handful of other producers agreed to restrain production, leading to a rebound that saw prices recently hit $80 before pulling back. Operating profit as measured by earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation rose by 5.7% year on year, with a stronger rouble partially offsetting the gains due to higher prices. In 2017, Lukoil, Russia’s second-largest oil company after state-controlled Rosneft, earned a r...

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