Unipetrol Falls Most in 5 Months on Quarterly Loss: Prague Mover

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Unipetrol AS, the largest Czech refiner, fell the most in five months after saying its fourth-quarter loss widened because of a “very bad macroeconomic environment,” impairment costs and refinery shutdowns.

The shares fell as much as 6.3 percent to 163 koruna ($8.75) at 9:18 a.m. in Prague, the biggest daily decline since Sept. 12. It was also the biggest drop in the Prague PX Index, which declined 0.4 percent.

The net loss in the three months through December grew to 3.14 billion koruna ($168 million) from a 68 million-koruna loss reported a year earlier, Prague-based Unipetrol said today in a statement on its website. The operating loss reached 2.55 billion koruna, while revenue amounted to 24.3 billion koruna during the quarter.

The company, owned by Poland’s PKN Orlen SA, suffered in the fourth quarter as the Brent-Urals differential, a profitability gauge in the industry, narrowed 80 percent during the period and a protracted refinery shutdown reduced output. Unipetrol also booked a one-time, 1.2 billion-koruna impairment fee, it said.

“The macroeconomic environment in the refinery and petrochemical segments is very bad,” the company said in the statement.

The koruna’s weakness against the euro and dollar shaved 380 million koruna off earnings, Unipetrol said on Jan. 26. Crude oil throughput dropped 12 percent in the quarter from the previous three months and retail sales of gasoline fell as drivers cut consumption and bought cheaper fuel in neighboring countries.

Fourth-quarter sales of petrochemical products declined 15 percent while margins narrowed 11 percent to 476 euros ($633), the company said. Sales of refinery products fell 6 percent, according to the statement.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net