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Serbian oil producer NIS reports drop in 9-month profit

BELGRADE, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Serbian oil company NIS , majority-owned by Russia’s Gazprom Neft, reported on Wednesday a loss of 8.3 billion dinars ($82.8 million) from January to September, on low demand and sharp drop in oil prices due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Nine-month earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) stood at 10.4 billion dinars, down from 31.2 billion dinars last year, the company said in a statement.

“A net profit of 1.9 billion dinars was made in the third quarter, but the unfavourable macroeconomic situation ... influenced ... a loss of 8.3 billion dinars in the first nine months,” it said.

From January through September, the company processed 2.6 million tonnes of crude oil and semi-refined products at its refinery in Pancevo, 13 km (8 miles) north of Belgrade, up from 2.3 million tonnes a year before.

Its annual average output is 1.7 billion tonnes of oil and gas equivalent.

In the first nine months of 2020, NIS invested 20.7 billion dinars in research, production and in its retail network, it said.

The company plans to pay 4.4 billion dinars in 2019 dividends to shareholders or 25% of net profits last year, the statement said.

One of the biggest contributors to Serbia’s budget, NIS operates two refineries, plus fields in Serbia, Angola and Bosnia.

NIS shares traded at 548 dinars, down 0.36% from Tuesday’s close on Belgrade’s stock exchange BELEX.

Gazprom Neft owns 56.15% of NIS, while the Serbian government holds 29.88% and small shareholders the rest. ($1 = 100.2000 Serbian dinars) (Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)