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Thai PTT sees weaker profit in Q3


September 9, 2008

Thai PTT sees weaker profit in Q3
Thailand’s state energy company PTT Plc said on Monday it expected third-quarter net profit to be higher than in the same period last year, but it would be lower than in the second quarter due to weak refining margins, reported Reuters.

The firm’s Chief Executive Prasert Bunsumpun also told reporters the PTT group had delayed a plan to sell 10 billion baht ($290 million) of bonds in the second half of this year as a political crisis in Thailand had dented investors' confidence.

"Compared with the third quarter last year, our net profit should be better.

But it should not be so good when compared with the second quarter because we expect average refining margins to fall from around $7-8 per barrel," Prasert said.

The year-on-year improvement was mainly due to higher output from its two main subsidiaries, PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) and PTT Chemical (PTTC), Prasert said.

The company maintained its earlier forecast that 2008 net profit should be close to the 98 billion baht earned in 2007 and expected 2008 revenues of 2 trillion baht, up from 1.5 trillion baht in 2007, he said.

"Our sales are still growing and we expect 2 trillion baht this year, but overall margins are not quite as good," Prasert said.

In the first half of this year, PTT posted a net profit of 56 billion baht, up 15 percent.

PTT, which controls more than 30 petroleum, gas exploration and petrochemical businesses, has major interests in five of Thailand's seven refineries, including top refiner Thai Oil.

PTT, which runs the country's gas pipeline monopoly, is still studying a share buy-back plan, Prasert said, but gave no details.

On Monday, PTT shares were up 3.3 percent at 248 baht, in line with the main Thai index. The stock has fallen almost 26 percent in the last three months as foreigners unloaded Thai shares.

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