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Unipetrol’s main subsidiaries will report their 2002 figures tomorrow

19.2.2003 9:15
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Unipetrol’s main subsidiaries will report their 2002 figures tomorrow afternoon according to Czech Accounting Standards. To summarize:

The refinery Ceska rafinerska suffered both from low refinery margins and the strengthened koruna (up 15% vs. the USD in 2002, which intensifies the effect of the lower margins) in 2002. Lower supply prices to Chemopetrol and the production outage due to the summertime floods took their toll as well. Therefore, the refinery’s 2002 results are expected to be even worse than the poor 2001 figures. To a somewhat lesser extent, Paramo, a smaller refinery, was influenced by margin/exchange-rate factors too.

The refinery margins recovered at the beginning of 2003, but the outlook for both supply (oil prices) and demand factors (global recovery) are not really encouraging this year. Exchange-rate developments (CZK/USD) in 2003 shouldn’t be as severe, however.

The highly leveraged Benzina, the fuel retailer, is likely to end 2002 in the red, mostly due to lower average fuel prices last year (due to intense competition among retailers), and as fuel consumption was considerably higher.

Olefin and polyolefin price development resulted in a worsening performance at Chemopetrol; these prices recovered at the beginning of 2003, but visibility is very low and we do not expect significant improvement this year.

Kaucuk (rubber and plastics manufacturer) stabilized its performance, but the economic slowdown in Europe (especially the automotive industry) had a negative effect in 2002; the 2003 outlook is somewhat better, but again we do not expect a significant performance boost in 2003. And Spolana faces tough restructuring challenges this year, especially after being severely hit by 2002 flooding.

Jiri Soustruznik

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