ECONOMY

Tupras profit for 2003 at $311 million

IZMIT (Reuters) – Top Turkish oil refiner Tupras said yesterday its 2003 net profit was 412.85 trillion lira ($311 million), a result widely expected after strong nine-month results. Russia’s Tatneft won a state tender for the purchase of 66 percent of Tupras for $1.3 billion and has until April 18 to finalize the sale agreement. The results have been adjusted for inflation, which was 13.9 percent for wholesale prices in 2003, Tupras said in a statement to the Istanbul stock exchange announcing its results. Net profits in 2002 were 173.9 trillion lira, but that figure does not take inflation into account. Tupras, whose four refineries control 87 percent of the domestic market, also said its 2003 gross profits were 644.85 trillion lira, while net sales were 9,300 trillion lira. There were no comparisons available for 2002. Tupras’s nine-month net profits were 372.9 trillion lira. The refiner told Reuters in an interview in January it targeted 2004 net profits of 450 trillion lira. In an interview with Reuters, Tupras’s general manager Husamettin Danis said Tupras had revised its targeted turnover for 2004 to 20,000 trillion ($14.3 billion) from 18,000 trillion lira. He attributed the revision to Turkey’s strong economic recovery and said a further upward revision may be necessary after the second quarter. Tupras aims to process 24.5 million tons of crude in 2004 and 24.2 million tons of oil products, he said. This compares with 23.9 million tons of processed crude and 22.2 million tons of oil products in 2003. The firm has met 95 percent of its crude oil refining and production targets and 98 percent of its sales targets for the first quarter of 2004 despite bad weather conditions across Turkey in January and February, Danis said. Tupras may have to revise upward payments for its planned imports of 22.8 million tons from an initial payment estimate of $3.8 billion because of delays in reopening a pipeline from Kirkuk in northern Iraq to Turkey. «When we made this plan, we expected the pipeline to be on stream,» said Danis.