Energy group Petrol returns to profit
Petrol, Slovenia's largest energy group, posted a net profit of €52.8 million in the first half of the year to bounce back from a €1.3 million loss in the same period last year despite a drop in sales revenue.
Sales revenue was down by 17% year-on-year to €3.4 billion which the company says is owing to lower prices of energy commodities and lower volume of electricity and natural gas sales compared to the same period last year.
A regulatory filing posted with the Ljubljana Stock Exchange on 25 August shows the group sold 1.86 million tons of fuels and petroleum products in the six months to the end of June, one percent less than in the same period a year ago.
The drop is "a result of the regulated prices of petroleum products in the previous year when they were lower than in the neighbouring countries for most of the period concerned, leading to increased sales (at the time)," the release reads.
It adds that buyers were stocking up at the start of last year due to the uncertainty on the oil market.
Adjusted gross profit in the January-June period increased by 8% year-on-year to €264.7 million.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) totalled €116.3 million in the six months to the end of June, up from €48.5 million in the first half of last year.
Operating costs rose by 17% year-on-year to €275.1 million, mainly due to higher prices of energy commodities, and higher labour costs, which increased primarily due to high inflation.
The group allocated €36.2 million for investments in fixed assets and long-term investments in the January-June period; 36.8% was earmarked for energy transition.
Although regulated fuel and energy prices in Slovenia and Croatia as its key markets continue to affect the group's operations, the group noted that the regulation is "less strict this year and enables us to cover costs in Slovenia; in June 2023, Croatia also eased the regulation".
The group, which employs 6,954 people, performed in line with the plans, CEO Nada Drobne Popović was quoted as saying, hailing performance in energy transition in particular.
"The results achieved in energy solution sales and renewable electricity generation are particularly encouraging," she said.
She pointed to the intensive renovation of the group's sales network with a view to developing a new generation of service stations.
As part of that project, Petrol is completing investments in ten service stations in Croatia, and has launched a complete reconstruction of two service stations on the south section of the Ljubljana ring road. The latter is slated for completion at the end of the year.
The company also mentioned the continuation of the Oil&Gas E2E supply chain digitalisation project, which is aimed at optimising logistics, and investment in renewable electricity generation.
The company's infrastructure in the north of the country was damaged in the devastating early August flooding, but the extent of the damage is still being assessed.