(Reuters) -Dutch oil and chemical storage company Vopak’s first-quarter earnings beat market expectations on Wednesday, boosted by growth projects and a good performance in the Americas.
The group reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 213.1 million euros ($230.47 million) for the first three months of the year, above analysts’ average estimate of 203 million.
Vopak, which operates tank terminals worldwide and is sensitive to changes in oil prices and movements in the global fuel markets, had a cost level of 165 million euros in the quarter, mainly related to increases in utility prices and currency exchange movements.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) last week cut its forecast for growth in world oil demand in 2022, pointing to the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, rising inflation and the resurgence of the Omicron coronavirus variant in China.
Although Vopak warned the war and associated international sanctions had led to a “volatile and uncertain” market situation, the group said its direct exposure was limited.
“There is, however, an indirect exposure through factors such as utility prices, inflation, market conditions and exchange rates,” the company added.
According to the International Energy Agency, which plans to release 240 million oil barrels within six months, the impact of sanctions and buyer aversion on Russian oil will take full effect from May onwards.
Vopak, which hopes to increase the share of new energies like hydrogen, ammonia, CO2, biofuels and sustainable feedstocks in its worldwide terminal portfolio, confirmed it expected growth investments to land below 300 million euros in 2022.
The Rotterdam-based group also announced that, following the strategic review of its assets in Australia, it had decided to continue to operate these terminals.
($1 = 0.9246 euros)
(Reporting by Juliette Portala; editing by Milla Nissi)