Higher utility sales costs hit Copec's 1Q12 net income

- Tuesday, May 29, 2012

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Rising fuel costs across international markets and increased energy purchases led Chilean fuel distributor Copec to report a near 50% drop in its 1Q12 net income compared to the year-ago period.

The firm's gas distribution subsidiary Metrogas reported revenues of 166bn Chilean pesos (US$208mn) for the 1Q12 period, up 15.5% from the 1Q11 on the back of increased sales to industrial users and fellow distributors.

Sales to power companies were highlighted by the firm in its results report, up 3.8% from the year ago period as generators ramped up thermo plant usage due to continued restrictions on hydro output.

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However, Metrogas net income over the period hit only 7.78bn pesos in first three months of this year, down by 25% from 1Q11 due to higher sales costs. The firm pointed to higher gas prices and transport costs as a reason for the difference in sales costs, which increased 28% year-on-year.

Similar results were reported by Copec's generation subsidiary Guacolda, which reported revenues of US$174.6mn, up 47.7% from the year ago period.

Once again the company was hit by sales costs, which rose 83.1% from the 1Q11 to a level of US$152mn. The firm cited increased energy purchases for the rise, due to reduced output at it's I and II generation units over January and February.

The generator's net income reached US$5.1mn compared to the US$15.3mn reported for the first three months of 2011.

Copec holds a 25% interest in Guacolda, which operates a 608MW coal and diesel fired plant in northern region III, alongside Chilean generator AES Gener (50%) local firm Inversiones Ultraterra (25%).

Copec itself reported net income of US$169mn for the 1Q12, down 48% from the year-ago period.

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