Rompetrol Rafinare, positive operating results in an unfavorable economic environment

Refining sector
• Aligning with the EU rules on using biocomponents in gasoline
• Launching of a new range of premium fuels  Alto - gasoline Alto 101 and diesel fuel Alto 55
• Continuation of projects on sustainability and operational efficiency

Distribution sector
• introduction of a new Rompetrol premium station concept and opening of the first two Litro gas-stations
• expansion of the fuel distribution network (745 units)
• initiation of the fuel quality assurance program – Qprotek-t

Petrochemicals sector
• improvement of the operating results (EBITDA), positive result in quarter 3
• increase in sale of in-house polymers production
• diversification of the products portfolio by launching 2 new sorts of HDPE and entering the retail market

Rompetrol Rafinare, a company member of the Rompetrol Group, generated consolidated revenues of USD 2.33 billion in the first nine months of the year and EBITDA of approximately USD 7.2 million in the context of the specific markets and macroeconomic indicators shrinking dramatically.

The company continued in quarter 3 to apply its strategy towards more efficient use of the resources by diversifying and developing new products in line, by launching the new range of premium fuels Alto, and by optimizing current business. Thus, Rompetrol Rafinare generated an operating income of USD 3.9 million in quarter 3 vs. a net loss of USD 4.1 million due to 32% drop in revenues, from USD 1.34 billion down to 907 million.

Considering the general conditions and the external factors which strongly influenced the results of Rompetrol Rafinare during the quarter 3, the net profit of the company improved by 44% vs. the level registered between July and September 2008, but continued to remain negative. Among these factors, independent of the company's activity, we note the decrease by 47% of the international quotations of crude oil and by 47% of the fuel ones vs. the similar period of 2008, the decrease by 65% of the refining margin, higher differences of exchange rate due to the depreciation of the national currency (30% for RON/USD and 16% for RON/EUR).

Thus, the refining segment, Petromidia refinery and its business unit Vega Ploieşti, generated revenues of approximately USD 767 million and a negative EBITDA of USD 18 million in quarter 3.

The total sales of fuels of the refining segment in the first 9 months reached 2.20 million tons, of which 7% were external sales of fuels and 1% shipments to the domestic market, considering that a total quantity of approximately 3.2 million tons of raw materials was processed.

During the first nine months of the year, the company invested approximately USD 56 million to continue the program meant to increase the operational capacity and the complexity of Petromidia refinery, and also to develop projects on energetic efficiency.

The distribution segment, made up of the companies Rompetrol Downstream, Rom Oil, Rompetrol Logisitics and Rompetrol Gas, recorded in quarter 3 an operating income (EBITDA) of USD 17.1 million, as compared to USD 3.1 million in the similar period of 2008, while the turnover amounted to approximately USD 573 million, decreasing by 24% as compared to 2008 due to the decrease of the international quotations of crude oil.

The positive results obtained by this segment compared to 2008 were supported by the over 40% expansion of the fuel distribution network, optimization of the operating costs, as well as introduction of the new range of Alto premium fuels. Between January and September 2009, Rompetrol Downstream, the retail division of the Rompetrol Group, opened 17 new gas stations, following an investment effort of about USD 19 million, of which USD 7 million were allocated to the opening, in late August, of the first two Litro stations, a new concept of premium station.

The Company’s strategy to expand its distribution network and the range of fuels sold, contributed to a 9% increase of the sales in quarter 3, up to approximately 390,000 tons. In the first nine months of the year, the total volumes sold through the distribution segment (retail, wholesale and Partner network) went up by over 5% (1.03 million tons), with 8% decrease in the retail.

In the end of September, the Rompetrol fuel distribution network in Romania included 745 stations (127 own stations, 169 Rompetrol Partener stations, 163 Rompetrol Expres stations and 286 internal stations), plus 250 auto LPG stations and over 6,000 points of gas cylinders' sale.

In terms of the petrochemicals segment, represented by Rompetrol Petrochemicals, it generated a positive EBITDA of USD 3 million in quarter 3, compared to a negative result of USD 9.4 million in the same quarter of last year, and a turnover of over USD 71 million, 24% down, due to the still decreasing quotations of the petrochemicals prices on the international markets. 
The positive EBIDTA was fed by the 19% increase in polymers sale following the 12% in production, as well as by the diversification of the products portfolio by entering the market for distribution of finished plastic products.

Rompetrol Rafinare remained, in the first 9 months of the year, as well, an important tax payer to the Romania’s state budget, the total value of its contributions to the local and central budgets amounting to approximately USD 700 million.

* The consolidated financial statements of Rompetrol Rafinare include the results of Rompetrol Rafinare S.A. and those of its subsidiaries, Rompetrol Petrochemicals S.R.L., Rom Oil S.A., Rompetrol Downstream S.R.L. and Rompetrol Logistics S.R.L. (together with the subsidiary Rompetrol Gas S.R.L.)

** The figures presented herein are consolidated and not audited and the reporting was in compliance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).