Italian energy company Eni 1Q earnings down on sluggish demand, Libya volatility

Italy's largest energy company, Eni SpA, says that its first-quarter profits dropped 16 percent due to sluggish domestic sales and volatility in Libya where it produces.

The Rome-based company said Tuesday that net profit for the first quarter was 1.3 billion euros ($1.8 billion), compared with 1.5 billion euros last year.

Production was even thanks to ramp-ups in the United Kingdom and Algeria that helped offset declines in Libya due to political instability. Natural gas sales were down 11 percent on weak demand and competitive pressure.

Eni CEO Paolo Scaroni, whose tenure ends next month, called the results solid given the difficult market environment. He said 2014 production is expected to be in line with last year, while natural gas sales will be lower.