Croatian oil group INA's results hit by Syria, lower production

ZAGREB Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:35am EST

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ZAGREB Feb 14 (Reuters) - Croatian oil and gas group INA posted lower sales and a net loss in 2013, hit by a devaluation of its Syrian assets, lower production, losses in gas trading and a fall in refinery margins.

INA's net loss amounted to 1.5 billion kuna ($268 million) compared with a 681 million kuna net profit in 2012. Sales revenue fell 8 percent year on year to 27.4 billion kuna.

"External factors strongly affected our financial results as we revised the value of our Syrian assets given the political risks there. However, it had no effect on our cash position," INA's Chief Executive Zoltan Aldott said.

Without one-off items, INA's net profit amounted to 953 million kuna compared with 1.9 billion kuna in 2012.

INA has both upstream and downstream segments and operates in Croatia, Africa and the Middle East. It had to suspend operations in Syria due to a civil war in that country.

Hungary's MOL is INA's biggest shareholder with just under 50 percent, while the Croatian government has a near 45-percent stake.

The relations between them have been strained in recent years over management rights and investment policy and they are now in talks over their future partnership.

MOL has refused to give up management control of INA and has said it would sell its stake to Croatia or a third party unless it secures an agreement that can lead to "value creation" in INA.

Aldott said INA would aim this year to strengthen its exploration efforts in Croatia and abroad.

Croatia plans to publish tenders for offshore gas and oil exploration in the central and southern Adriatic in the second quarter of this year after a survey revealed promising deposits there, its economy minister recently said.

($1 = 5.6024 Croatian kunas) (Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Mark Potter)

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