Unipetrol Says Quarterly Earnings to Be ‘Slightly Negative’

Unipetrol AS, the biggest Czech oil refiner, will probably report a first-quarter loss after a slowdown in economic growth curtailed production.

Earnings before interest and tax will be “slightly negative,” Prague-based Unipetrol said today in a trading statement. Crude oil throughput dropped 10 percent from the previous three months to 906,000 metric tons, it said.

Earnings have been squeezed by rising crude prices and lower demand as slower growth caps consumption. Oil prices increased “significantly” in the first quarter to an average $119 a barrel, Unipetrol said. Polish refiner PKN Orlen SA, which controls 63 percent of Unipetrol, also said today it expects to report a decline in quarterly operating profit.

Foreign-exchange rates will boost first-quarter earnings by about 156 million koruna ($8.3 million), Unipetrol said. Sales of carbon allowances will add about 155 million koruna.

Unipetrol dropped 1.1 percent to 170.20 koruna in Prague trading as of 11:08 a.m. local time.