Top Czech oil refiner Unipetrol has reported a first-quarter net loss of Kč 361 million (down from Kč 464 million in 1Q11) on lower sales of fuels and reduced profits due to higher crude oil prices — and the macroeconomic situation, analysts said. The result was wider than the average estimate of a Kč 86 million loss seen in a Reuters poll.
“The beginning of this year was difficult especially for petrochemical sector, mainly due to lower combined petchem margins. However, EBIT achieved in the refinery segment increased y/y by 69% during the first quarter,” Unipetrol CEO and board chairman Piotr Chełmiński said in a statement.
The Prague-listed company’s 1Q12 results show better-than-expected EBITDA and EBIT, and worse-than-expected net profit, J&T analyst Bohumil Trampota said in a market comment Wednesday. Sales of Kč 25.5 billion (+10.2% y/y) were “more or less in line with market consensus (-0.9%) and our projection (-0.2%),” he said.
“EBITDA reached Kč 720 million (-47.8% y/y), beating market expectations by 13.1% but in line with our projection (-2.7%). EBIT ended in a loss of Kč 51 million (vs. profit of Kč 571 million in 1Q11), which was lower than market expected (-48.5%) but higher than we projected (+27.1%),” Trampota said, noting that EBIT was boosted by a gain of over Kč 100 million from carbon credits operations.
“Up to the operating level the results exceed expectations; however, Unipetrol reported a third consecutive operating loss in 1Q12. Additionally, the bottom line is disappointing and we consider the results negative,” he said. “The third consecutive loss is due to unfavorable macroeconomic environment.”
Unipetrol, which is majority owned by Polish refiner PKN Orlen, said in a statement it expects positive EBIT in 2012 and plans to invest Kč 2 billion in operations in 2012 while continuing its “long-term trend in staffing reduction.”
“In retail segment, there is a long-term decline in demand for fuels, particularly gasoline. This year we would like to strengthen non-fuel sales of complementary goods. We plan to open 88 new fast-food restaurants STOP CAFE, well received at a number of the Orlen-branded fuel stations in Poland,” Chełmiński said.