Bloomberg News

Unipetrol Posts Quarterly Loss on Refinery Outage, Margins

November 04, 2011

(Updates with analysts’ comment in fourth paragraph.)

Nov. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Unipetrol AS, the largest Czech refiner, posted a quarterly loss after a monthlong outage at the Litvinov plant curbed production and margins for selling processed oil products dropped.

The company posted a net loss of 128 million koruna ($7 million) in the three months through September, compared with a 175 million koruna profit a year earlier, Unipetrol said today in a statement. That compares with the 139 million-koruna-loss median estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Crude oil throughput in the quarter dropped 20 percent from a year earlier because of the turnaround at the Litvinov refinery, the company said. The economic climate remains “very tough,” and the company expects weaker results in the fourth quarter than a year earlier, Chief Financial Officer Mariusz Kedra said today at a press conference in Prague.

“The results are weak as expected because of very low refinery margins and the Litvinov outage,” Erste Group analysts Petr Bartek and Tomasz Kasowicz wrote in a note.

Earnings before interest and tax declined 64 percent from a year earlier to 565 million koruna, according to the statement. The operating loss was 230 million koruna, wider than the analysts’ estimate of a 224 million-koruna loss. The company doesn’t expect an operating loss in the fourth quarter, Kedra said.

Third-quarter revenue rose 6.9 percent to 24.1 billion koruna compared with a year earlier. Fixed costs declined 140 million koruna, according to the statement.

Refinery product sales slumped 9 percent in the quarter, and petrochemicals dropped 8 percent, with the sector showing no signs of improvement, Kedra said. Gasoline retail sales continued to decline as motorists cut consumption and many opted to cross the border to buy fuel more cheaply, Kedra said.

Litvinov was shut from the start of September until the beginning of October. The next maintenance outage is planned for 2013 at the Kralupy refinery and 2015 at Litvinov.

--Editors: Alex Devine, John Viljoen

To contact the reporter on this story: Ladka Bauerova in Prague at lbauerova@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net


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