Trafigura's Puma Energy Posts Record Profit as Margins Rise

  • First-quarter gross profit increases 23% to $428 million
  • Puma boosts storage capacity to 7.8 million cubic meters

Puma Energy Group Pte, the fuel retailer and storage company spun off from Trafigura Group, said first-quarter gross profit rose 23 percent to a record $428 million as margins increased and it expanded capacity.

Sales volumes climbed 22 percent to 5.2 million cubic meters, the highest ever quarterly figure, the Singapore-based firm said Wednesday in a statement. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization jumped 37 percent to $209 million as Puma’s gross margins rose to a record high.

The decline in crude to a 12-year low has sharpened consumer appetite for fuel, while Puma also benefited from a contango market structure -- where future oil prices are higher than current ones -- that increased demand for storage capacity. Puma, 49 percent owned by oil trader Trafigura, spent $186 million in the quarter on construction projects in Africa and Asia, increasing its total storage capacity to 7.8 million cubic meters.

Puma’s record quarter came “despite obvious challenges in the wider market,” Chief Financial Officer Denis Chazarain said in the statement. “We have now reached a full global scale with our integrated business model, and look forward to further growth throughout 2016.”

In a separate statement, Puma said it had closed new revolving credit facilities totaling $800 million with a syndicate of banks. The company also extended $650 million of an existing $750 million three-year facility by one year to 2019.

Puma is now “well positioned with strong liquidity and long-term funding for the next phase in our growth strategy,” Chazarain said.

Cash flow from operating activities increased 36 percent to $203 million.

Chazarain said in March that Puma will consider some of the downstream assets in South Africa that Chevron Corp. plans to sell.

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