The current year did not begin favorably for the local petroleum sector, as indicated by first-quarter results posted by of the country’s two biggest refineries controlling the Greek fuel market.
Drastically reduced heating fuel sales were the main factor behind the disappointing first quarter results, compared to last year, despite an increase in demand for diesel and a modest rise in gasoline sales following an extended downward trajectory.
ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum), which announced its first-quarter results yesterday, reported a 13 percent fuel sales decline, overall, down to a level of 826,000 metric tons, despite operating a greater number of refueling stations, up to 1,749 in the first quarter from 1,737 a year earlier.
ELPE’s heating fuel sales fell by 22 percent in the first quarter, year on year, while diesel and gasoline sales rose by 6 and 2 percent, respectively.
The increased first-quarter sale figures for auto fuels, offering wider profit margins, helped the group’s EBITDA/metric ton margin improve slightly, by one percentage point.
Motor Oil Hellas, the Greek fuel market’s other major player, reported a 6.2 percent overall decline in auto and heating fuel sales.
Auto fuel sales at the group rose by 3.8 percent in the first quarter. Gasoline sales were up by over one percent while demand for diesel increased by 5.8 percent. However, the significant drop in heating fuel sales drove the group’s overall results lower.
Higher fuel prices in the first quarter have been attributed as a factor affecting sale levels in the sector. Prices at local pumps have just begun dropping as lower international prices begin to impact the Greek retail fuel market.