Mol reports Profits As Losses Fall At Gas Unit

Mol, Hungary's oil and gas monopoly, has posted a first quarter profit as losses at its gas unit narrowed. The shares fell as profit was below analyst expectations. Net income was 10.2 billion forint ($37.6 million), compared with a revised loss of 12.1 billion forint a year earlier, Mol said in a faxed statement. Profit was less than the lowest estimate of 17.5 billion forint in a survey of seven analysts. Mol's gas unit benefited from declining world energy prices, which reduced losses on natural gas sales after the government capped prices at less than the cost of imports. The twenty percent drop in oil prices over the year hurt Mol's oil refining and marketing unit, which was expected to benefit from rising car and fuel sales. “Margins were very low in refining,” said Peter Tordai, an analyst at K&H Securities in Budapest. “The management will have to explain the bad performance of the oil refining and marketing division.”

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