Italian oil and gas company Eni has reported an adjusted net profit attributable to shareholders of €1.64bn for Q4 2023, a drop of 34% from €2.49bn in Q4 2022.

The full-year figures for 2023 showed an adjusted net profit attributable to Eni shareholders of €8.29bn, compared with €13.30bn in full-year 2022.

The group’s adjusted operating profit for Q4 2023 was €2.77bn, marking a 23% decrease compared with the same period in the previous year.

This decline was primarily due to a 17% drop in exploration & production (E&P) results to €2.43bn, influenced by lower crude oil and natural gas prices. Additionally, the Chemical business reported a loss of €237m, impacted by a demand slowdown and cost disadvantages.

The refining sector also experienced a significant downturn, with Refining earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) falling by €322m.

Eni’s proforma adjusted EBIT for Q4 stood at €3.75bn, a decrease from €4.98bn in the same period a year ago. The full-year 2023 Proforma adjusted EBIT was €17.8bn, 30% down from €25.33bn the previous year.

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Total revenue for Q4 was €25.027bn, a decrease from €31.81bn year-on-year. The full-year revenue for 2023 amounted to €94.86bn, a reduction from €133.68bn in 2022.

Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said: “Our results were underpinned by our distinctive satellite model that continues to prove to be an effective lever in accelerating growth and value creation.

“With the recent entry of an institutional investor into the shareholding of Plenitude, we highlighted the value of this business, that is estimated at around €10bn and accessed additional dedicated capital supporting our growth plan.

“Our financial results were excellent, with a proforma adjusted EBIT of almost €18bn and an adjusted net profit of more than €8bn. Cash flow generation at €16.5bn before working capital movements gave us a significant headroom over the substantial cash returns to shareholders of €4.8bn, while keeping our leverage at 0.2.”

Eni has committed to buy back shares valued at €2.2bn by April this year, reported Reuters.

Last year, the country’s finance minister said that the shares buyback and cancellation could offer the Italian Government the scope to reduce its stake in Eni. Currently, the Italian Government holds approximately 32.4% ownership of Eni, primarily through an indirect 27.7% stake held via state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, with the Treasury maintaining a direct stake of 4.7%.

The government’s overall ownership in Eni is expected to increase to more than 34% following completion of Eni’s buyback initiative, which was announced in May 2023.

Subsequently, the Treasury could possibly divest approximately 4% of Eni, valued at around €2bn based on current market prices.