January 23, 2013 / 7:31 AM / in 5 years

UPDATE 1-PKN posts Q4 net loss on writedowns, sees margins fall

* Q4 net loss 276 mln zlotys
    * Loss due to writedown at Czech unit
    * Sees margins down in January

 (Adds detail, background)
    WARSAW, Jan 23 (Reuters) - PKN Orlen, Poland's top
refiner, has swung to a 276 million zloty ($88 million)
fourth-quarter net loss, hit by a writedown at Czech unit
    The state-controlled refiner also said on Wednesday margins
continued to shrink, with its joint model refining margin and
Ural/Brent crude price differential down to $2.9 per barrel this
    Refiners across Europe are seeing margins squeezed as a
slowdown in demand because a faltering economy has left the
industry with excess capacity.
    PKN's sales in Poland were down because of a drop in fuel
consumption, partly offset by an increase in volumes in Czech
and German markets.
    PKN had said it would post an operating loss of over 700
million after a 4.5 billion Czech crown ($233 million)
impairment charge to reflect the drop in asset values and an
intention to sell some of those assets. 
    On Wednesday, the company said it made a fourth-quarter
operating loss of 738 million zlotys. 
    Before last week's trading statement, analysts had expected
PKN Orlen to post a net profit of 350 million zlotys. The group
earned 619 million zlotys in the 2011 period.
 ($1 = 3.1406 zlotys = 19.2725 Czech crowns)

 (Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Dan Lalor)

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