First-quarter profits reported by Norwegian state oil company Statoil on Tuesday were so strong, and better than expected, that they boosted the value not only of the company’s own shares but the index of the Oslo Stock Exchange. Statoil’s shares jumped 3.6 percent after just a half-hour of trading.
The Oslo Stock Exchange’s index also rose 1.2 percent, not least since Statoil is Norway’s biggest company. It reported a sharp rise in profits Tuesday morning that analysts said “positively surprised” the market.
“The results were three billion kroner better than expected,” Roger Berntsen, chief analyst for Netfonds, told state broadcaster NRK. Much of the profit improvement is linked to controversial cost-cutting at Statoil, and Bertnsen said the results of the cuts weren’t expected to materialize so quickly.
Operating profits after tax amounted to NOK 15.8 billion (USD 2.6 billion), compared to NOK 12 billion in the same period last year. Statoil chief executive Helge Lund, who has been criticized cutting employee staffing while collecting higher pay himself, claimed the company was performing well in all its business areas. He said he was especially pleased with the operations and production on Norwegian oil fields, claiming “our colleagues there are doing a cracking good job.”