May 31, 2018 / 2:32 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Hellenic Petroleum Q1 core profit drops 35 pct; refining margins hurt

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ATHENS, May 31 (Reuters) - Hellenic Petroleum, Greece’s biggest oil refiner, on Thursday reported a 35 percent drop in first-quarter core profit, hurt by lower refining margins and a stronger euro.

The refiner said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), adjusted for oil inventory holdings, came in at 149 million euros ($173.94 million), down from 229 million euros in the same period a year earlier.

Weaker margins and euro strength against the dollar weighed on profits.

Hellenic said it will significantly improve its debt profile by refinancing bank loans of about 900 million euros by July.

Hellenic, which exports more than half of its output, said refining sales volume increased by 3 percent to 4 million tonnes thanks to the smooth operation of all three refineries in the country.

Its shares trade at 7.6-times its 12-month forward earnings, compared with 17 times for rivals Neste and 11 times for Saras. ($1 = 0.8566 euros) (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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