Mitsui records $93 MM more in provisions for sanctioned Arctic LNG 2 project

(Reuters) - Japan's Mitsui & Co said it had recorded $93 MM as additional provisions on its investment in Russia's Arctic LNG 2 project sanctioned by the United States, but lifted its full-year profit forecast.

The Japanese trading house said it was taking appropriate steps to protect its interests on the LNG project based on the shareholders' and other agreements.

"We will continue to comply with laws and regulations, including sanctions imposed by the international community... while cooperating with stakeholders including the Japanese government," Mitsui Chief Financial Officer Tetsuya Shigeta told in an earnings press conference, without elaborating further.

For the nine-month through Dec. 31, Mitsui reported a 13.6% drop in net profit to 726.4 billion yen, due to lower prices of fossil fuels and steel-making materials such as coking coal.

But it raised its full-year profit forecast through end-March to 950 billion yen from 940 billion yen, compared with the mean estimate of 963.5 billion yen in a survey of nine analysts by LSEG.

Higher dividend from Brazil's Vale VALE3.SA, in which Mitsui owns a stake, amid firmer prices of iron ore and stronger gains from LNG trading were behind the brighter outlook, Shigeta said, adding the Arctic LNG 2 caused a 12.3 billion yen of negative impact to Mitsui's third-quarter earnings.

The Arctic LNG 2 is majority-owned and operated by Russia's Novatek NVTK.MM, while Japan Arctic LNG (JARC), a consortium of Mitsui and Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security (JOGMEC), hold a combined 10%.

Washington in November imposed sanctions on Arctic LNG 2 that followed separate measures related to the project in September, over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Separately, the state-owned JOGMEC said it had provided a debt guarantee for the loans of around 814 million euros ($885 million) made to JARC by financial institutions.

The move comes as JARC fell under the provisions for mandatory prepayment as stipulated in its loan agreements with financial institutions due to the U.S. sanctions, JOGMEC said.

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