MILAN, Italy, April 25 (UPI) -- Italian energy company Eni said the sale of its share of assets in Mozambique was a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing quarter.
Eni announced its adjusted operating profit for the first quarter of the year was down about 30 percent year-on-year to $4.9 billion because of declines in production from the United Kingdom, Nigeria and Libya. Production there was down nearly 5 percent compared with the same period last year.
The company cited as an operational highlight the sale of a 28.75 interest in capital of Eni East Africa, which holds a 70 percent stake in operations offshore Mozambique. This generated $4.2 billion in cash for the company.
In a separate statement, the company said it was finalizing development plans for what it said was a "huge resource base" in Mozambique.
Eni said it estimated there are 80 trillion cubic feet of natural gas at its Mamba Complex and Coral discoveries in Mozambique. The company said those reserves exceeded its expectations.
Eni Chief Executive Officer Paolo Scaroni said much of the profit reduction was because of a downturn in the natural gas market but he said he was upbeat for the year.
"We confirm our growth and profitability targets for the full year 2013, in spite of a slower first quarter," he said in a statement.