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PKN Orlen, Polish Refiner, Reports Net Loss on Weakening Zloty

Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) -- PKN Orlen SA, Poland’s largest oil company, reported a net loss in the second quarter as the weakening zloty offset the positive effect of wider refining margins.

The loss of 5.25 million zloty ($1.65 million) at the Plock, central Poland-based company compared with net income of 1.17 billion zloty a year earlier. The zloty weakened 6.6 percent against the euro in the quarter, driving up the value of Orlen’s foreign currency denominated loans.

Sales rose 26 percent to 21.1 billion zloty following an increase in oil prices and higher volume sales. Wider petrochemical and refining margins also contributed to a 70 percent increase in earnings before interest and taxes, to 1.12 billion zloty.

The earnings “are very good, but have already been priced in” after Orlen published earnings estimates in July, Kamil Kliszcz, an analyst at BRE Bank SA, said by phone.

Orlen shares fell 2.1 percent to 37.41 zloty at 10:15 a.m. in Warsaw trading today. The benchmark WIG20 index dropped 1.3 percent and crude oil futures lost 1.6 percent.

“What matters for Orlen is how oil-market conditions behave in the following quarters and how the company proceeds with sales of its units,” Tamas Pletser, an analyst at ING Groep NV, said by phone.

State-controlled PKN hired Nomura International Plc last year to help it sell its stake in Poland’s largest mobile-phone company Polkomtel SA. It picked the same bank earlier this month to examine the options, including finding a buyer, for Orlen Lietuva, its unprofitable Lithuanian refining unit.

Today Orlen said in a website presentation that an independent third party will complete due diligence on Polkomtel this quarter, allowing it to start the sale in the fourth quarter. The company may also restart the sale of its chemical unit Anwil SA as the market improves, it said.

Refining margins narrowed in the third quarter to $2.7 per barrel from $4.7 in the second, while petrochemical margins increased to 766 euros a ton, from 721 euros.

-- Editors: Nathaniel Espino, James Cone

To contact the reporter on this story: Maciej Martewicz in Warsaw at mmartewicz@bloomberg.net

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

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