March 5, 2015 / 1:13 PM / 5 years ago

Serbia's NIS plans job cuts after 42 pct profit fall

* 2014 net profit 27.8 bln dinar vs. 48.3 bln dinar in 2013

* Scales back investment plans

* Sanctions forced company to seek finance outside Europe -CEO

BELGRADE, March 5 (Reuters) - Serbian oil company NIS , majority owned by Russia’s Gazporm Neft, posted a 42 percent fall in full-year profit on Thursday and said it will lay off 4 percent of its workforce.

Chief Executive Kirill Kravchenko told reporters that the company achieved net profit of 27.8 billion dinars ($254.81 million) in 2014, against 48.3 billion dinars in 2013, because of a stronger U.S. dollar, low oil prices and poor demand in Serbia.

To cut costs the company will lay off 200 of its 5,000 employees and also look to appoint local candidates in management roles rather than employing managers from abroad, Kravchenko said.

Kravchenko said that European Union sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis had forced NIS to seek new sources of financing in the Middle East and China.

“(European) Banks treat us as a Russian company,” he said.

Kravchenko said the company would cut back on investment in 2015 from a previously planned 40 billion dinars to 25 billion dinars.

NIS has also been burdened by 59 billion dinars of debt owed by big Serbian state-owned companies, Kravchenko said.

One of the biggest contributors to Serbian budget, NIS runs two refineries in Serbia and produces 1.7 million tonnes of oil and gas equivalent per year, operating fields in Serbia, Angola and Bosnia.

Gazprom Neft owns 56.15 percent of NIS, with 29.88 percent owned by the Serbian government. Small shareholders own the remaining shares. ($1 = 109.1000 Serbian dinars) (Reporting by Ivana Sekularac; Editing by David Goodman)

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