Czech Unipetrol swings to Q1 petchem op profit of Kc427m

25 April 2013 10:16  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Unipetrol’s petrochemical division swung to a koruny (Kc) 427m ($21.5m) operating profit in the first quarter of 2013 compared to an operating loss of Kc264m in the same quarter of last year, on the back of strong margins, the Czech company said on Thursday.

The strength in margins helped to compensate for weak demand for polymers and an 8% year-on-year decline in Q1 petrochemical sales volumes to 403,000 tonnes, it added.

Unipetrol saw 60,000 tonnes for Q1 polyethylene (PE) sales volumes, a decline of 17% year on year. Polypropylene (PP) sales volumes were flat at 61,000 tonnes.

The company’s model petrochemical margin for the first quarter was €631/tonne ($819/tonne), a 23% improvement on the figure recorded for the first three months of 2012, Unipetrol said. The figure for the fourth quarter of 2012 was €609/tonne.

“The EBIT [earnings before interest and tax] of Unipetrol was positively affected mainly by the petrochemical segment, which has recorded a significantly higher combined petchem margin. This segment has now recorded positive EBIT in three consecutive quarters,” said the recently installed CEO of Unipetrol, Marek Switajewski.

Unipetrol, also a refiner, was hit by an overall net loss of Kc148m in the first quarter, compared to a net loss of Kc363m a year ago, with the company citing lower sales volumes and growing “grey zone” imports that are affecting both its refining and retail fuels divisions as significant factors.

Sales revenues edged down 3% year on year to Kc24.8bn.

Unipetrol is 63%-owned by Poland’s PKN Orlen oil and petrochemicals group, which released its Q1 results earlier on Thursday.

($1 = Kc19.90, $1 = €0.77)

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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