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OMV Q1 earnings drop on forex, storage costs

  Austrian oil and gas group OMV reported a steep drop in underlying operating earnings in the Q1 on Friday, hit by exchange rates and storage costs, and it gave a gloomy outlook for 2009.

“We expect that the most important market factors, the oil price, refinery margins and the euro-dollar exchange rate, will continue to experience high volatility,” the company said.

OMV’s earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) fell 54% to €340 million ($452.9 million) after stripping out one-off items in the three months to March, missing the average forecast of €408 million in a Reuters poll.

Foreign exchange rate fluctuations at its Turkish affiliate Petrol Ofisi reduced market demand at its petrochemical group Borealis and storage costs in its refineries division ate into OMV’s earnings.

Its net loss after minorities was €40 million. OMV’s chief executive said in December he expected 2009 earnings to fall as the global economic downturn weighs down demand and oil prices fall.

The shares have lost 40% of their value since the start of the year, partly on market worries about OMV’s exposure to emerging Europe, but falling in line with the DJ Stoxx European oil and gas sector index. (Reuters)