S-Oil Corp., South Korea-based refiner owned by Saudi Aramco, performed its best in five years in January-March period through a dramatic turn to a sizeable profit from a loss of 1 trillion won ($899.4 million) a year ago.
The petroleum and refinery company said in a regulatory filing on Tuesday that its operating profit reached 629.2 billion won in the first quarter on a consolidated basis, swinging from an operating loss of 1 trillion won in the same period last year. Operating profit jumped a whopping 670.4 percent from 81.7 billion won in the previous quarter ended December.
Net profit also nearly tripled on quarter to 344.7 billion won and reversed from a loss of 880.6 billion won in the same period a year ago.
Sales reached 5.3 trillion won in the January-March period, up 24.9 percent on quarter and 2.8 percent on year, it said.
The income beat market consensus of 380.9 billion won.
S-Oil shares closed Tuesday up 0.36 percent at 84,600 won.
Profit benefited from spike in product price despite modest sales. .
Operating profit surged on the back of margin recovery of major products including gasoline, diesel, propylene oxide, and lube base oil, as well as inventory-related profit on rising oil prices.
S-Oil also noted that it was able to maximize benefit from higher polymer product and lube base oil prices by boosting operations of residue upgrading complex and olefin downstream complex facilities to the max.
The refinery business posted an operating profit of 342 billion won in the first quarter on sales of 3.7 trillion won. Refining margin remained weak due to Covid-19 fallout but demand is slowly on recovery thanks to an increase in vaccine inoculation. The spread of its major products gasoline and diesel improved.
The petrochemical business raised 98.3 billion won in operating profit on sales of 1.02 trillion won in the first quarter on the back of higher spread of polymer products.
The lube base oil business raised 188.9 billion won in operating income on sales of 526.3 billion won on the back of improved demand that led to a rise in spread.
S-Oil expected a surge in refining margin in the quarter ahead amid economic recovery and growing travel demand backed by coronavirus vaccinations.
By Lee Eun-joo
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