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Petrom says made Q4 net loss of RON 1.27 billion

  Romania’s biggest oil and gas group Petrom posted a fourth-quarter net loss of RON 1.27 billion ($381 million) on Wednesday, due to falling oil prices and a provision for legal claims of employees.

Petrom, majority owned by Austria’s OMV, was seen posting a net profit of RON 131 million. In the Q4 of 2007, Petrom reported a net profit of RON 230 million. Its turnover rose 4% to RON 3.7 billion in the Q4 of last year.

The group has been involved in litigation started by former and current employees based on different interpretation of clauses for holiday bonuses, for which it has been provisioning for potential losses.

The Q4 provision stood at RON 860 million, compared with 447 million in the Q3. “The fourth quarter was affected by sharp oil price decline and additional provisions booked,” the company said in a statement.

Petrom said it plans to cut investment this year to “levels appropriate to the current financing situation and challenging environment.” The group will pay no dividend for 2008, to finance investment, the statement said.

The company also said it was in talks with international financial institutions to secure loans for investment projects. For the full year Petrom recorded a net profit of RON 1 billion, 43% lower than a year earlier. (Reuters)