Thursday, February 26, 2009

Petrom says made Q4 net loss of 1.27 billion lei

* Q4 net loss 1.27 bln lei vs expected 131 mln profit

* No dividend for 2008 will be paid

* Q4 turnover up 4 percent to 3.7 billion lei

* Full year net profit 1 billion lei, down 43 percent

BUCHAREST, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Romania's biggest oil and gas group Petrom SNPP.BX posted a fourth-quarter net loss of 1.27 billion lei ($381 million) on Wednesday, due to falling oil prices and a provision for legal claims of employees.

Petrom, majority owned by Austria's OMV (OMVV.VI), was seen posting a net profit of 131 million lei. In the fourth quarter of 2007, Petrom reported a net profit of 230 million lei.

Its turnover rose 4 percent to 3.7 billion lei in the fourth quarter 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 fourth-quarter provision stood at 860 million lei, compared with 447 million in the third quarter.

"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 1 billion lei, 43 percent lower than a year earlier. (Reporting by Marius Zaharia; Editing by David Holmes)

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