May 11, 2016 / 12:22 PM / in 4 years

Serbian oil company NIS reports 261 mln dinar net profit in Q1

BELGRADE, May 11 (Reuters) - Serbian oil company NIS , majority owned by Russia’s Gazprom Neft, reported a 261 million dinar ($2.4 million) profit for the first quarter of this year, citing improved efficiency.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) dropped to 3.8 billion dinars, from 7.2 billion dinars in the same period last year.

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

NIS, which reported a 4.7 billion dinar net loss in the first quarter last year, has been squeezed by low energy prices and a stronger dollar.

After reporting a net loss for 2014, it announced plans in 2015 to cut its workforce of around 5,000 by 4 percent.

An NIS spokeswoman did not immediately respond to an email inquiry on Wednesday on whether the planned job cuts had been completed.

Unemployment in Serbia was nearly 18 percent the end of 2015 and is set to rise further as public sector jobs are cut under a precautionary loan deal with the IMF.

NIS shares traded at 620 dinars on Wednesday, up 0.5 percent from Tuesday’s close of 617 dinars.

Russia’s Gazprom Neft owns 56.15 percent of NIS, while the Serbian government owns 29.88 percent. Small shareholders own the remainder. ($1 = 107.6000 Serbian dinars) (Reporting by Ivana Sekularac; additional reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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