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Wednesday, 11/07/2012 8:19:15 AM

Wednesday, November 07, 2012 8:19:15 AM

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Argentina's YPF reports lower third-quarter net profit

Wed Nov 7, 2012 6:29am EST

* Net profit falls 51 percent year-on-year
* Market expected quarterly earnings of 902.5 million

Nov 7 (Reuters) - YPF, Argentina's state-controlled energy company, reported a third-quarter net profit of 756 million pesos ($161 million) on Wednesday, down 51 percent from a year earlier and trailing market expectations.

President Cristina Fernandez seized control of YPF from Spain's Repsol in April, accusing the Spanish oil company of investing too little and making Argentina increasingly reliant on pricey imports.

In a filing to the stock market regulator, YPF - the country's biggest energy company - said the quarterly net income figure reflected a deferred tax payment valued at 408 million pesos.

Four analysts polled by Reuters had forecast the net profit at a median of 902.5 million pesos, with estimates ranging from 877.7 million to 932 million pesos.

YPF aims to boost oil and natural gas production by 32 percent by the end of 2017, reversing years of declining hydrocarbon output, by stepping up investments in Latin America's energy-hungry No. 3 economy.

The company's new chief executive officer has said that will require some $37.2 billion.

Wednesday's statement said investments in the first nine months of 2012 had risen 18.7 percent to 9.67 billion pesos from a year earlier, when the company was still controlled by Repsol.

"This increase is mainly due to the increase in upstream activity and advances and conclusions in downstream projects," YPF said.

Operating profit fell 31.2 percent to 1.79 billion pesos.

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