February 16, 2018 / 7:17 AM / 7 months ago

UPDATE 2-Dutch firm Vopak 2017 earnings beat expectations, shares surge

* Core earnings excluding exceptional items at 763 mln euros

* Fourth quarter net profit far ahead of market consensus

* Firms sees 2018 influenced by less favourable oil market (Adds share jump, net profit figure)

By Anthony Deutsch

AMSTERDAM, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Vopak on Friday said core earnings excluding exceptional items fell 7 percent in 2017 to 763 million euros ($957 million), but the Dutch oil and chemical storage company still beat forecasts and its shares rose sharply.

Analysts polled for Reuters had on average expected earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), including joint ventures, to fall 9 percent to 746 million euros.

The full-year results were lifted by a stronger-than-anticipated fourth quarter, which benefited from favourable currency movements and terminal performance, said Chief Financial Officer Gerard Paulides.

Fourth-quarter net profit attributable to shareholders rose 7 percent to 76 million, beating market consensus for an 18 percent fall to 58.6 million.

Vopak’s shares jumped more than 15 percent to the highest level since Aug. 17.

Vopak did not provide the usual EBITDA guidance, but said it expected its 2018 results to be influenced by “the currently less favourable oil market structure, impacting occupancy rates and price levels in the hub locations.”

The company is in the process of adjusting its terminal portfolio, divesting some assets, while adding 3.1 million cubic meters of new capacity, which is expected to lift results from 2019.

“We have confidence towards 2019, and 2018 will play out as it plays out,” Paulides said in an interview.

For 2017, Vopak booked exceptional losses before financing costs and taxation of 68 million euros, compared with a one-off gain of 201 million euros in 2016.

The loss was mainly caused by impairments at two joint- venture terminals in Estonia and China, which was slightly offset by a gain on the sale of the Vopak Terminal Eemshaven.

$1 = 0.7973 euros Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by David Holmes and Edmund Blair

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