BUCHAREST (Romania), August 8 (SeeNews) - Romania's top oil and gas group OMV Petrom [BSE:SNP] on Wednesday reported a net profit of 2.027 billion lei ($553 million/446.2 million euro) for the first half of 2012, 16% up on the year.
In the second quarter alone, the net profit fell by an annual 29% to 643 million lei, OMV Petrom said in a statement. The results are consolidated, unaudited and reported under the International Financial Reporting Standards.
The company also said it earmarked 5.2 billion lei for investments in 2012. It plans to put into operations its new terminal in Isalnita, southwestern Romania, by the end of the year.
"In the first half of 2012 we achieved better financial performance compared with the same period in 2011, thanks to marginally higher crude price and favorable FX environment," OMV Petrom CEO Mariana Gheorghe said in the statement.
"Q2/12 operational result was burdened by lower hydrocarbon production due to the decline at some key fields in Romania and the Petrobrazi refinery six-week planned shutdown," she added.
The group’s consolidated sales rose 19% on the year to 12.2 billion lei over the period under review. In the second quarter alone, sales rose by 17% on the year to 6.2 billion lei.
OMV Petrom, majority-owned by Austria's OMV, said its hydrocarbon production fell by 1.0% on the year to 33.28 million barrels of oil equivalent in January-June.
Consolidated gas sales remained flat on the year at 2.6 million cubic metres through June and fell by an annual 7.0% in the second quarter alone due to lower demand.
In the refining and marketing (R&M) segment, the group turned to negative earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of 111 million lei from 4.0 million lei in the first half of 2011.
The group's results in the segment were affected by the impact of the Petrobrazi refinery's shutdown on both margins and costs, coupled with lower demand in the first quarter this year due to bad weather conditions and a challenging price environment, OMV Petrom said.
OMV Petrom also said it expects progress of the appraisal drilling of the Totea field, which might confirm the most important onshore gas discovery in Romania in the past six years.
The group said it will start acquisition of additional 3D seismic data in the Neptun offshore block at Domino-1 offshore gas discovery in 2012.
"Given that the loss on the R&M segment is due to an one-off event and that the results in the Exploration&Production and Gas&Power were close and even above expectations, we rate the news as neutral. Still we could see a short term negative market reaction," Raiffeisen Capital & Investment Research said in a note to investors.
"There are some positives to be remembered which should sweeten the impact from the 2Q results such as the expected gas price liberalization due to have its first effects in December 2012 and the start of operations in August of Brazi power plant," it added.
Petrom is among the 10 most liquid stocks on the Bucharest bourse, and is included in its blue-chip BET index. Its shares last traded 0.26% down at 0.3850 lei by 0747 GMT on Wednesday.
(1 euro= 4.5514 Romanian lei)