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Pandemic sales plunge puts MOL in red in Q2

Hungarian oil and gas company MOL booked a second-quarter loss of HUF 41.5 billion as sales plummeted because of the coronavirus pandemic, state news wire MTI says, citing an earnings report published early Friday.

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Revenue fell 40% to HUF 812.6 bln as lockdowns reduced fuel sales and crude prices reached record lows.

The cost of raw material and consumables fell at an even steeper rate, declining 48% to HUF 561.4 bln, but total operating costs were down just 35% at HUF 820.7 bln.

Net revenue of MOLʼs downstream business fell 43% to HUF 678.6 bln and upstream revenue declined 41% to HUF 73.6 bln. Turnover of the consumer services business, a key element of MOLʼs 2030 strategy, fell at a more moderate rate, dropping 31% to HUF 300.5 bln. While the upstream business had an operating loss of HUF 40.6 bln and downstream operating profit dived 80% to HUF 9.5 bln, operating profit of the consumer services business rose 5% to HUF 26.2 bln.

MOL noted that it had closed a USD 1.5 bln deal in April to acquire stakes in an Azeri oil field, one of the largest in the world, and a pipeline that delivers crude from the field, lifting its net debt to HUF 987 bln and its gearing ratio to 29%.

Board initiates strategy review

MOL said transformational projects that are part of its 2030 strategy "are clearly prioritized and have been going ahead at full steam, as far as the mobility restrictions allowed".

"While the strategic directions remain intact, the current circumstances do necessitate a rethinking of priorities, resetting of the financial framework and updating the long term strategic and short-to-mid-term tactical and financial targets," MOL said.

It added that the board had initiated a "strategy review and update process" and would communicate the results "in about six months".

MOL said its financial targets are withdrawn "for the next few years", pending the review process, but its primary goal is unchanged: "generating enough cash...to fund both sustain-type investments and its low-carbon energy transition, and also to reward its shareholders".