August 1, 2013 / 10:27 AM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 2-Neste shares soar on upbeat outlook for biofuels unit

* Sees full-year renewables profit above 120 mln euros

* Group Q2 comparable operating profit 88 mln vs 79.8 mln forecast in poll

* Shares rise more than 20 pct (Recasts with share price jump, biofuels forecast)

By Terhi Kinnunen

HELSINKI, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Shares in Finnish refiner Neste Oil jumped 21 percent on Thursday after it forecast higher full-year profits for its biofuels unit and reported strong quarterly results.

Renewable fuels are at the heart of Neste Oil’s long-term growth strategy. In the past few years it has built three renewable diesel plants, as it also seeks to differentiate itself from its bigger rivals in traditional oil refining.

It said it expected full-year operating profit to grow versus 2012, adding the renewable fuels unit, which makes diesel from palm oil and animal waste fat, would likely make an annual comparable operating profit of more than 120 million euros ($159.34 million) this year.

That is almost double the market consensus of around 66 million euros, analysts said.

Neste Oil said the comparable operating profit excluded inventory and capital gains or losses.

Evli Securities analyst Markku Jarvinen said the forecast was a relief for many investors who feared that falling rapeseed oil prices would hurt the renewables business.

The unit reported a comparable operating profit of 33 million euros in the second quarter versus a loss of the same amount a year earlier. It turned profitable for the first time in the first quarter this year.

Strength in the renewables business helped to swell the group’s operating profit to 88 million euros from 40 million euros a year earlier. That beat an average estimate of 79.8 million euros in a Reuters poll.

The shares rose 2.06 euros to 12.95 euros by 1019 GMT. ($1 = 0.7531 euros) (Editing by Ritsuko Ando and James Jukwey)

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