Australia’s Viva Energy posts annual loss as pandemic hits demand

(Reuters) – Australian fuel supplier Viva Energy Group on Wednesday reported a full-year loss compared with a profit last year, hurt by a slump in global fuel demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus-related curbs on international travel and domestic lockdowns battered the market for oil refineries for much of 2020, impacting their bottom line and putting the future of their plants in jeopardy.

Viva’s underlying net loss on tax on replacement cost basis was A$35.9 million ($28.4 million) in the year ended Dec. 31, compared with a profit of A$135.8 million a year earlier.

The Victoria-based company said sales volumes for the year fell 16% to 12,339 million litres, within the company’s forecast range of 12,250 to 12,350 ml provided in December.

The company’s refinery operations delivered an underlying EBITDA loss on replacement cost basis of A$95.1 million in 2020 due to the pandemic. Replacement cost strips out the impact of crude oil inventory and foreign exchange moves.

Viva also said it has materially progressed the development of its gas terminal project at Geelong in Victoria, which the company has been looking to revive following threats of closures.