ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) has posted a net profit of 55 million euros for the first quarter, an improved result which company officials attributed to more favorable refining margins, increased exports, and improved company performance in all entrepreneurial activity, locally and abroad.
However, the company warned market conditions remained volatile, both in Greece and abroad, with numerous dangers intact for the rest of the year. The objective at the company, led by a new administration, is to bolster ELPE’s position as a regional force in southeast Europe and increase its contribution to the Greek economy, it noted.
Favorable international conditions such as the stabilization of oil prices, improved refining margins at European facilities, as well as the dollar’s further gains against the euro currency, all helped boost the company’s financial performance, ELPE noted, adding that economic recovery in many markets and colder weather conditions in the northern hemisphere also helped.
These factors led a slowdown in the fall of oil prices, which averaged 54 dollars a barrel in the first quarter, it noted.
In Greece, colder weather conditions, combined primarily with lower oil costs – a development mainly attributed to a more efficiently run subsidy program for heating fuel and a tax reduction – led to boost in demand for heating fuel. Demand for heating fuel in Greece increased to 1.9 million tons in the first quarter, up by 22 percent compared to the equivalent period last year, and doubled overall. Demand for auto fuel remained steady.
ELPE’s EBITDA figure for the first quarter reached 205 million euros, mainly as a result of its sturdy performance in the refinery division.
Overall sales for the company in Greece increased by 31 percent, mainly due to the increase in heating fuel demand. Also, the company improved its domestic market shares for all products, benefiting from a revised network strategy and diversified portfolio.
Internationally, company sales increased by 8 percent, spurred by lower oil prices.
Refering to a fatal fire that broke out earlier this month at a company refinery in Aspropyrgos, west of Athens, causing the deaths of two employees, ELPE’s administration noted the families of the victims were receiving full company support. The company added the incident stressed the need for continual maintenance work, employee participation being crucial to the effort.