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Unipetrol Returns to Quarterly Profit on One-Time Provision

Unipetrol AS, the largest Czech refiner, said it returned to profit in the third quarter on a one-time provision and improved sales.

Net income in the three months through September reached 645 million koruna ($33.5 million) from a loss of 128 million koruna a year earlier, the Prague-based company said in an e-mailed statement today. Sales during the period increased 18 percent to 28.4 billion koruna.

Unipetrol started to see some decline in refinery margins in the fourth quarter, Chief Financial Officer Mariusz Kedra told journalists at a news conference in Prague today. Petrochemical margins remain “stable” for now, he said.

The company was forced to close its Kralupy refinery today for at least 10 days because of a shortage of crude oil. The shutdown will be used for maintenance, originally planned for November, and shouldn’t have any “negative” impact on the refiner’s financial results, Kedra said.

Unipetrol has secured enough crude oil supplies for the rest of the year for its production at Ceska Rafinerska, according to the executive.

The refiner rose 0.3 percent to 171.99 as of 12:57 p.m. in Prague.

“Unipetrol performed well in the refinery segment, while the petrochemical and retail segments were quite weak,” Vaclav Kminek, an analyst at Erste Group Bank AG, said in a note. “It is very likely that the weakness would continue in years to come as the overcapacity in Europe will persist for a longer period of time.”

Third-quarter earnings before interest and tax were 942 million koruna thanks to the gain on inventory revaluation, the company said.

Kedra reiterated Unipetrol’s guidance to post a “positive” full-year earnings before interest and tax this year.

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