Unipetrol Reports Fourth-Quarter Loss on Low Crude Price
Unipetrol AS, the largest Czech refiner, posted its fifth consecutive quarterly loss as the price of crude oil fell and output was hampered by a refinery outage.
Loss for the three-month period through December narrowed to 690 million koruna ($34 million) from the 2.78 billion-koruna loss reported a year ago when Unipetrol incurred large impairment costs, the Prague-based company said in an e-mailed statement today.
Throughout the year, Unipetrol has been struggling with low demand and unplanned production outages at aging refineries that curbed sales volumes. Fourth-quarter output was again affected by a scheduled outage of the Kralupy refinery, stopped in September and October for maintenance and upgrade.
“The results were also negatively influenced by difficult macroeconomic conditions,” Unipetrol said in the statement.
The Czech economy is struggling to revive growth after exiting an 18-month recession in the second quarter of 2013 and years of austerity efforts by the previous administration.
The company reported a 396 million-koruna loss before interest and tax in the fourth quarter, while revenue dropped 5 percent to 25.07 billion koruna during the period.
The refining unit, the largest source of Unipetrol’s revenue, posted an operating loss of 391 million koruna as trading environment remained “very tough,” the company said.
The petrochemical unit posted a 514 million-koruna operating profit. The retail unit reported an operating profit of 173 million koruna as sales improved and new Czech legislation curbed illegal fuel trade, the company said.
PKN Orlen SA, Poland’s largest refiner that owns a 63 percent stake in Unipetrol, reported a net loss of 422 million zloty ($138 million) today.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ladka Bauerova in Prague at firstname.lastname@example.org