* Net profit 180 mln euros vs 153 mln expected by analysts
* EBITDA up 9 pct at 411 mln euros, vs 415 mln forecast (Adds CEO on EBITDA prospects)
By Andrei Khalip and Shrikesh Laxmidas
LISBON, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Portugal’s Galp Energia posted a stronger-than-expected 49 percent rise in adjusted quarterly net profit on Monday, boosted by higher refining margins and a steep increase in oil output in Brazil that buttressed its earnings outlook.
Chief Executive Officer Carlos Gomes da Silva said 2015 pretax earnings should come in at the top end of the previously predicted range of 1.3 billion to 1.5 billion euros for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).
“So it will be around 1.5 billion euros and depending on the setting, I’d say it could even be slightly higher,” he told a conference call with analysts.
Galp said that after pumping a record 45,700 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the third quarter, production has increased further lately to surpass the 50 kboepd milestone as the giant Lula/Iracema oilfield off Brazil was pumping more crude than initially expected.
The third Lula/Iracema oil platform off Brazil’s coast should reach a plateau during this quarter, ahead of schedule, the company said. Another platform at Lula/Iracema was ramping up production after an early start in July, while two more platforms were on track to be deployed in the first quarter of next year, it said.
Gomes da Silva said Galp’s projects in Brazil would not be affected by investment cuts at its main Brazilian partner Petrobras following a corruption scandal because those projects, including Lula/Iracema, remain top priority for Petrobras.
“We are maintaining our vision, our plan and we are confident that it will be implemented, because those are Brazil’s top priority projects,” he said.
Galp reported a net profit of 180 million euros ($199 mln) in the July-September period. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose about 9 percent to 411 million euros. The results are adjusted to reflect changes in the company’s stocks of crude.
Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast, on average, an adjusted net profit of 153 million euros and EBITDA of 415 million euros.
Galp’s refining margin rose to $6.7 per barrel from $4.7 a year ago, following global trends amid a fall in crude prices. Galp’s sales were also helped by recovering demand for fuel in Portugal and Spain.
The company said earlier this month that oil output rose by nearly 44 percent in the third quarter.
Galp’s shares initially rose on the results but then reversed gains and were down 2 percent, tracking world oil prices and its European peers. ($1 = 0.9065 euros) (Editing by Susan Fenton)