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Italy's Eni keeps production outlook as Q1 profit misses forecast

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian energy group Eni stuck to its production forecast for the year on Wednesday, as profits in the first quarter missed market expectations.

Adjusted net profit in the quarter rose 4 percent to 992 million euros ($1.1 billion), below a consensus of analyst forecasts provided by the company of 1.05 billion euros.

The state-controlled major confirmed oil and gas production would grow by 2.5 percent in 2019, driven in part by increases at its giant fields in Egypt and Kazakhstan.

The group, which is targeting average yearly production growth of 3.5 percent from 2018-2022, said it expected output this year to accelerate from July after second-quarter maintenance at its Kashagan and Goliat fields.

It confirmed it would invest 8 billion euros over the year.

In a statement, CEO Claudio Descalzi said the group was able to cover costs, investments and dividends with Brent at $55 a barrel and "to generate a cash surplus in cases of higher prices as at the moment."

At 1250 GMT, Eni shares were down 1.2 percent while the European sector was down 1.1 percent.

($1 = 0.8922 euros)

(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Isla Binnie and Mark Potter)