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Petrol Group Raised Profit by 48% in 2011 (adds)

Ljubljana, 06 April (STA) - Energy group Petrol generated EUR 3.3bn in net sales revenues in 2011, which is 17% more than the year before. Net profit increased by 48% to EUR 52.3m, Petrol said in a press release on Friday.

The core company, which has a 59% share on the Slovenian fuel retail market, increased revenues by 16% last year to EUR 2.8bn. Net profit stood at EUR 11.6m, which is less than a third of what the company made in 2010.

Shareholders may expect dividends of EUR 8.25 gross.

Last year, the group sold 2.38 million tonnes of petroleum products, up 1% over 2010, while its sales in retail increased by 5% to EUR 435.9m.

The group also sold 114.1 million cubic metres of natural gas, which is a 9% increase from the year before, and 1.1 million megawatt hours of electricity, which is three times more than in 2010.

The business results, published today on the web site of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange, were discussed by the supervisory board on Thursday. The supervisors also confirmed strategic business plans for the period until 2016.

During this time, the group's net profit should rise by 12% a year to top EUR 91m. Sales revenues should increase by 22% to EUR 4.6bn.

The group expects EUR 3.8bn in sales revenues and a net profit of EUR 57m for 2012.

At the end of last year, writedowns on investments and claims totalled EUR 41.5m. Writedowns on investments slightly exceeded EUR 28m, mostly on account of holding Istrabenz (EUR 23.3m) and to a lesser extent the NLB bank (EUR 3.7m).

Writedowns on claims totalled EUR 12.5m, a member of the management board, Janez Živko, told today's press conference.

He highlighted though that this was balanced by a successful takeover of tank farm operator Instalacije, which generated almost EUR 42m in financial revenues.

CEO Tomaž Berločnik labelled the purchase of 78% stake in Instalacije an important milestone, adding that Petrol panned to increase it to 100%. "This means that in the future we will be able to develop logistics ourselves and become independent," he stressed.

The group allocated EUR 82m for investments last year, while the plan was to allocate EUR 90m. Berločnik said 20% of the money planned for investment was invested in the company's fuel retail activities inSlovenia, 28% in SE Europe and 46% in the energy sector.

Petrol increased the number of its staff from 3,500 to 3,900 last year and opened 13 new petrol stations. At the end of December 2011, it had 454 petrol stations, 314 of which in Slovenia and the rest in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. By 2016, Petrol pans to increase this number to 527.

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