UPDATE 1-OMV profit leaps, beats forecasts as Libya recovers
(Adds details, background)
* Clean CCS EBIT 865 mln eur vs Reuters poll avg 829 mln
* Clean CCS net profit 455 mln eur vs poll avg 404 mln
* Refining margins spiked in Q2, seen deterioriating
VIENNA, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Austrian energy group OMV posted a 82 percent increase in quarterly operating profit on Wednesday, easily beating market forecasts, as production returned to nearly normal in Libya and crude oil prices fell, boosting its refining margin.
OMV said its clean CCS earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), which excludes special items and inventory holding effects, was 865 million euros ($1.07 billion) in the June quarter, well above a Reuters poll average of 829 million euros.
The oil and gas company said production in Libya - which accounted for 10 percent of output before last year's civil war that toppled Muammar Gaddafi - had neared pre-war levels and was expected to stay at current levels for the time being.
It said exploration expenses had fallen to 57 million euros in the quarter from 179 million a year earlier.
OMV, whose activities range from exploration to petrol stations, said production in Yemen had restarted at a low level in July following the repair of an export pipeline but the security situation remained uncertain.
The company said refining margins had spiked in the second quarter and were expected to deterioriate as crude oil prices recovered, while petrochemical and marketing margins would suffer from the subdued economic environment.
In the second quarter, OMV's clean CCS net income jumped 89 percent to 455 million euros, compared with the Reuters poll average of 404 million euros.
OMV has embarked on a performance-improvement programme, designed to increase its return on average capital employed (ROACE) by 2 percentage points by 2014, and is also divesting assets as it shifts its focus to exploration from refining.
"I am glad to see our strategy implementation is gathering pace," Chief Executive Gerhard Roiss said in a statement. (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Michael Shields)
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