Ceska Pozice

Unipetrol board proposes zero dividend

Unipetrol’s nearly debt-free balance sheet would allow for a decent dividend; management want to save cash for investments

 | na serveru Lidovky.cz | aktuální zprávy foto: © UnipetrolČeská pozice

Prague-listed petrochemicals group Unipetrol, the largest refiner in the Czech Republic, has called an AGM for June 30 with the main agenda to include the usual end-of-year procedures — with the company’s board, controlled by Polish oil & gas group PKN Orlen, having proposed a zero dividend payout for 2010.

“Although Unipetrol’s practically debt-free balance sheet would allow for a decent dividend comfortably, management (and PKN's management, too) hinted previously that it did not wish to pay out cash dividends, citing potential future investment needs,” Wood & Co. analyst Jan Tomaník said in a market comment on Friday.

“This is not good news, and we do not fully understand the logic. Originally, we had expected a dividend payment but, in light of recent comments from management, the news is neutral and triggered no market reaction.” ‘This is not good news, and we do not fully understand the logic.’

Unipetrol reported for fiscal year 2010 operating profit (EBIT) of Kč 2.209 billion. According to Reuters Estimates, analysts are expecting the company to report EBIT of Kč 2.667 billion for fiscal year 2011.

It is the majority shareholder (51.22 percent) in the top Czech oil refiner Česká rafinérská, a joint venture with Italy’s Eni (32.445 percent) and a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell (16.335 percent). Eni is negotiating the sale of its stake to Russia’s Gazprom.

PKN Orlen owns a 63-percent stake in Unipetrol. The Polish-controlled company’s chief executive, Piotr Chelminski, confirmed for Týden magazine this month that Unipetrol, which has right of first refusal, remains keen to buy Eni’s stake in Česká rafinérská — but has not seen an offer yet — and aims to reach 20 percent share of the retail market, mainly through acquisitions.

Chelminski also said Unipetrol would be interested in attaining the assets of Čepro, the state-owned oil products distributor.

YearDividend per year in Dividend per share in Kč
 20073 200 558 584.6017.65
 1997241 175 236.121.33

Source: Unipetrol

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