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MOL operating margin edges up, financial loss narrows in Q4

Hungarian oil and gas company MOL on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter net income of HUF 7.7 billion, an improvement over a HUF 29.1 billion loss in the base period as a decline in operating costs outpaced a fall in revenue and financial expenses narrowed. Basic earnings per share came to HUF 88, MOL said in its consolidated IFRS report. Revenue fell 4% to HUF 1,435.3 billion. Cost of raw materials and consumables dropped at the same pace to HUF 1,127.8 billion, but total operating costs were down 5% at HUF 1,402.3 billion. The difference between costs and revenue lifted operating profit by 182% to HUF 33.0 billion. The bottom line improved further as financial losses narrowed to HUF 18.8 billion from HUF 51.8 billion in the base period. MOL said EBITDA cleared of special items, FX gains or losses, and impairment on inventories was down 11% at HUF 138.8 billion, just under the HUF 144.7 billion estimate in a poll of analysts by Portfolio.hu. In a breakdown by business, MOL said revenue of its upstream segment fell 18% to HUF 187.6 billion. It noted that revenue from operations in Syria had ceased in October 2011, and production was down in the CEE region and Russia because of natural depletion. MOL's Croatian unit INA, declared force majeure regarding its operations in Syria because of political unrest in the country in February 2012. The upstream segment's EBITDA was down 16% at HUF 108.5 billion. Revenue of MOL's downstream segment was flat at HUF 1,249.9 billion. But EBITDA reached HUF 29.5 billion, compared to an HUF 18.3 billion loss in the base period. The gas midstream segment generated revenue of HUF 125.7 billion, down 15%. EBITDA of the segment fell 52% to HUF 9.1 billion. MOL noted the impact of a drop in revenue from the domestic business because of falling volume and lower capacity fees. For the full year, MOL's net income edged down 3% to HUF 149.7 billion. Full-year revenue and operating costs rose at the same pace, by 4%, to HUF 5,557.6 billion and HUF 5,337.2 billion, respectively. But operating profit slipped 13% to HUF 220.5 billion. MOL booked a HUF 46.7 billion financial loss for the full year, down from a HUF 54.9 billion loss in the base period. Revenue from the upstream segment inched down 2% to HUF 779.0 billion and EBITDA of the business fell 16% to HUF 401.5 billion. Revenue from the downstream segment climbed 6% to HUF 4,817.2 billion and EBITDA jumped 63% to HUF 140.0 billion. Capital expenditures rose 6% to HUF 291 billion. Investments focused on the Kurdistan region of Iraq, the CEE Region and Russia. CAPEX also included the acquisition costs of new exploration licences in Kazakhstan and Oman, as well as the Pap Oil retail network in the Czech Republic. MOL had total assets of HUF 4,778.6 billion on December 31, 2012, down 4% from twelve months earlier. Net assets were little changed at HUF 2,246.6 billion. Net debt fell to HUF 742 billion from HUF 871 billion on the stronger forint and cash flow generation. MOL's net gearing ratio fell to 24.8% from 28.0%.