(Adds CEO, outlook)
PRAGUE Jan 24 Czech downstream oil group
Unipetrol reported a loss for the fifth quarter in a
row in the fourth quarter, due to low refinery margins and weak
The company, facing overcapacity in the refining business
that has squeezed margins, also missed, as expected, a goal of
returning to an operating profit in 2013.
Its chief executive said it hoped to do so in 2014.
"Unfortunately we didn't manage that (target). We hope to
achieve positive operating results at the end of (this) year,"
Unipetrol reported a full-year operating loss (EBIT) of 893
million crowns ($44.47 million) after a 3.82 billion crown loss
in 2012 when it took a big charge on refining assets.
In the fourth quarter, Unipetrol saw a net loss of 690
million crowns, wider than the average estimate of a 375 million
crown loss in a Reuters poll, hurt by the loss-making refining
division. Its petrochemical business continued to be the main
profit driver, it said.
Revenue at Unipetrol, majority owned by Poland's PKN Orlen
, fell by 5 percent year-on-year to 25.07 billion
crowns, versus 25.15 billion seen in the poll.
Unipetrol is planning to invest nearly $1 billion by 2017,
with the majority going to petrochemicals. In November, the
company a deal to buy partner Royal Dutch Shell's 16.3
percent stake in Ceska Rafinerska for $27.2 million, boosting
its stake in the country's only refinery to 67.6 percent.
($1 = 20.0807 Czech crowns)
(Reporting by Michael Kahn; Writing by Jason Hovet; Editing by
Matt Driskill and Jane Merriman)