March 13, 2013 / 4:16 PM / in 5 years

UPDATE 1-Greek refiner Motor Oil suffers 45 pct profit fall

* 2012 net profit 78.2 mln euros, versus 143 mln in 2011

* Misses analysts’ forecast of 98.5 mln euros

* Exports reduce impact from weak domestic demand (Adds domestic market background)

ATHENS, March 13 (Reuters) - Greece’s second-biggest refiner and fuel retailer Motor Oil reported a bigger than expected profit fall for 2012, weighed down by low crude prices and weak fuel demand in its crisis-hit home market.

Fuel tax increases imposed by Greece’s cash-strapped government have made the country’s gasoline prices the third-highest in the euro zone, pushing down Motor Oil’s domestic refining sales volumes by 23 percent, the company said on Wednesday.

Lower refining margins and crude prices also hit the bottom line, with net profit sliding to 78.2 million euros ($102 million), from 143 million euros in 2011.

A 36 percent rise in exports could not offset the domestic sales decline, with net income falling short of an average forecast of 98.5 million euros in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Stripping out the effect of falling oil prices on inventories, Motor Oil’s underlying profit fell at a slower pace.

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) dropped by 4.8 percent to 303.6 million euros. ($1 = 0.7680 euros) (Reporting by Harry Papachristou; Editing by David Goodman)

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