Erste Group forecasts 1.44 bln lei profit for 2009 for Petrom

Erste Group expects the oil and gas company OMV Petrom (ticker: OMV) to report a net profit of 1.44 billion lei (€340 million) for 2009, 41% growth from 2008, the bank said in a research report.

Tomorrow, the oil company is due to make public its financial results for 2009.

Erste Bank analysts expect a 98 million lei loss for the fourth quarter 2009.

“The environment for Petrom in the fourth quarter of 2009 was marked by rising oil prices and very thin refining margins”, Erste Bank said.

The operating result in the refining and marketing segment is anticipated to have deteriorated significantly compared to the third quarter. Reported EBIT is projected to arrive at a loss of RON 427mn in 4Q09, while in third quarter 2009 it stood at -42 million lei.

“To a large extent, this was due to weak demand, higher costs of energy at Petrom and the shutdown of the Arpechim refinery in November”. Later on, Arpechim was acquired by Oltchim chemical plant.

Reported EBIT in the Gas & Power segment is forecasted to arrive at a loss of 213 million lei, mainly due to the restructuring at Doljchim

“Despite OMV presenting higher overall gas volumes sold in fourth quarter 2009 compared to the same period of 2008 in its trading statement, we believe that industrial demand for natural gas in Romania remained sluggish in the fourth quarter, as the fertilizer industry is still suffering from unfavorable economic conditions”, Erste said.

Erste maintains the Accumulate recommendation for OMV Petrom with a target price of 0.31 lei, 15% above the latest stock quote at BSE.

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