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Petrol's Q1 Sales up 9%, Profit Tops EUR 9m

Ljubljana, 20 May (STA) - Energy group Petrol reported net sales of EUR 607m for the first quarter of 2010, an increase of 9% year-on-year and 6% above plans. Net profit amounted to 9m, up from a EUR 5.6m loss a year ago, the company said Thursday.

The results were reported after the company's supervisory board confirmed a strategy until 2014 which sees Petrol sales increasing by 37% over this year's target to EUR 3.5bn in 2014.

Profit before income tax, depreciation and amortisation is projected to rise 73% by 2014 to EUR 167m and net profit by 69% to EUR 73.1m.

A total of EUR 428m is to be earmarked for investments over the five-year period, chairman Aleksander Svetelsek told the press. The goal is to make Petrol a regional multinational.

The bulk of the (54%) money will be spend on expansion in SE Europe, 17% for investments in Slovenia and 29% for Petrol's gas, ecology and other businesses.

Investments will be funded with current cash flow but potential major acquisitions on existing markets will be financed with capital raising, according to Svetelsek.

Petrol wishes to increase the number of service stations in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo by 29% to 570.

Petrol plans to focus on energy and dispose of all non-core businesses, but Svetelsek refused to say which investments would be offloaded.

The decision to sell 33% stake in insolvent holding Istrabenz, which is Petrol's biggest stranded investment, will be made based on how successful the sale of Istrabenz's food division Droga Kolinska is.

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