Russian gas giant Gazprom saw its third quarter net income rise by 33% year-on-year due to a weaker ruble and an increase in domestic gas prices, the company said.

Net income rose to R174.6bn ($5.75bn) from R131.7bn in the third quarter of 2008, beating the median estimate of R156bn in a Bloomberg survey of 12 analysts.

Sales fell 8.1% to R770.8bn.

Gazprom’s sales to Europe account for about 40% of its total revenue, but the company’s profit for the first nine months of last year fell more than one-third compared with a year earlier.

Net profit for the January to September 2009 period was R479.289bn, compared with R751.676bn for the same nine months in 2008.

The figures reflect an overall drop in sales of about 7% and an increase in operating expenses of 16%.

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