Czech Unipetrol incurs Q1 operating loss as petchem margins fall

19 April 2012 09:36  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Unipetrol is expecting to record a slight operating loss in the first quarter, with its model polyolefin and olefin margin registering year-on-year declines for the three-month period, the Czech petrochemical producer and refiner said in a trading statement released on Thursday.

Unipetrol's model polyolefin margin was €240/tonne ($316/tonne) in the March quarter, down by 15% year on year, while its model olefin margin at €274/tonne fell by 21%, it said.

From the fourth quarter, however, the first-quarter model polyolefin margin was up 12% and the model olefin margin grew 4%, the company said in the trading statement.

The quarter-on-quarter margin improvements were achieved “on a significantly higher benzene-naphtha spread in olefins and higher polyethylene-ethylene and polypropylene-propylene spreads in polyolefins,” it said.

Unipetrol also noted a “steep increase in the feedstock [naphtha] price by 20% from €646/tonne in [the fourth quarter of 2011] to €772/tonne in [the first quarter of 2012] resulting in record absolute prices of final petrochemical products which somewhat hindered market demand”.

The company’s petrochemical sales volumes amounted to 440,000 tonnes in the first quarter, up 14% quarter on quarter but down 2% year on year.

The company is due to report its first-quarter financial results on 25 April.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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