The company expects to make money again in 2021 and says that they managed to reduce debt in 2020.
The state-owned company Naftogaz, which is the largest taxpayer in Ukraine, reported losses of 19 Billion hryvnias, around 680 million dollars, in 2020. The company reported a profit of 2.6 Billion hryvnias, about 94 million dollars, in 2019, and Naftogaz blame the pandemic and the economic crisis with low gas prices for the bad result.
“All key global mining companies recorded losses in 2020. At the same time, Naftogaz’s management responded to the crisis in a timely manner and prevented unprofitable work in the segment it had a direct impact on,” wrote Andriy Kobolyev, CEO of Naftogaz, on Facebook.
“In early 2020, the board developed an anti-crisis work plan, which was successfully implemented. According to our reports, losses from low prices and the crisis are estimated at UAH 11.9 billion, while operating profit is UAH 12.6 billion. Were it not for the debt crisis caused by inefficient state regulation of gas prices; the Group would have been profitable,” Kobolyev pointed out.
Reducing debt and expecting profits
Naftogaz reported having been making a profit of 3.2 Billion hryvnias before servicing debt and other extraordinary costs in 2020. The company also pointed out that they expect to make a profit in the first quarter of 2021 and that net debt was reduced from 42.6 Billion hryvnias in 2019 to 29.2 Billion hryvnias in 2020.
“Despite a challenging environment with low prices and demand, we are showing a robust underlying performance after our swift and decisive action to reduce operating costs and capital expenditure. Gas customers not paying for deliveries negatively impacts our bottom line. Our operating cash flow is strong, and we remain focused on capital discipline. We continue to strengthen the efficiency of our operations,” commented Naftogaz Chief Financial Officer Peter van Driel.
Financial Summary by Naftogaz
|In UAH billion, 2019 excluding discontinued operations and Gazprom arbitration award||Fourth-quarter 2020||Fourth-quarter 2019||Full-year
|Net profit from continuing operations||(2.0)||(10.3)||(19.0)||2.6|
|Free cash flows||(7.5)||(15.3)||3.4||(16.3)|
At the beginning of 2021, the Ukrainian government decided to subsidize gas prices, which met criticism from international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, IMF. However, according to Naftogaz, the government moved too late to support the prices, which led to lower consumption and prevented Naftogaz from turning a profit.
“Had it not been for… ineffective state regulation of gas prices, the group would have been profitable even in this difficult year,” Kobolyev said, according to Kyiv Post.