Trafigura's Puma Energy posts loss for nine months to Sept. 30

LONDON (Reuters) - Trafigura’s storage and retail arm Puma Energy reported a net loss for the third quarter and first nine months of the year on Thursday, mainly due to impairments.

Puma, which has been loss-making since 2018, posted a narrower net loss for the nine-month period ending Sept. 30 of $362 million, compared with $463 million in the same period of 2019. For the third quarter, the loss was $258 million versus $383 million last year.

The firm attributed the losses to its regular impairment testing process. Puma had impairments of about $90 million in both Puerto Rico and Ghana. In addition, there was an impairment of $54 million to do with “fair value adjustments” on some assets up for sale.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the three quarters were up slightly from last year at $503 million, including $82 million of core shareholder price support, and compared with core earnings in the year earlier period of $492 million.

Ratings agency Fitch said it expected limited impact on the company’s performance from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on fuel demand (will) be largely offset by $100 million of shareholder support through an interim price adjustment on fuel supply,” the agency said in June.

Trafigura is Puma’s largest shareholder with around a 55% stake. Angola’s state oil firm Sonangol has a more than 30% stake but recently hired Jefferies bank to sell its interest.

The firm has been trying to rebalance its books and said last month it was “on track” to sell $100 million of assets before the year end.

Reporting by Julia Payne; Editing by Kirsten Donovan