Refiners' Q4 profit drops to zero, chairman to step down

Israel’s Oil Refineries (ORL) reported no profit in the fourth quarter, as lower financing expenses offset lower refining margins.

ORL, Israel’s largest refining and petrochemicals group, said it earned no profit in the October-December period, down from net profit of $78 million a year earlier. Revenue rose to $1.8 billion from $1.6 billion.

Its adjusted refining margin was $6.1 a barrel in the quarter, compared with Reuters’ quoted Mediterranean Ural Cracking Margin of $4.7 a barrel and $7.9 a year earlier.

ORL’s profit for much of 2018 was impacted by higher oil prices and planned maintenance to main production facilities.

The company also said its chairman Ovadia Eli is stepping down sometime in the second quarter and will be replaced by Johanan Locker, who will be leaving the same position at specialty chemicals and minerals producer Israel Chemicals (ICL).

ICL separately said Yoav Dopplet will replace Locker.

ORL is controlled by Israel Corp, which holds a 33.1 percent stake. Israel Corp, whose CEO is Dopplet, also owns 45.9 percent of ICL.

Reporting by Steven Scheer Editing by Tova Cohen

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