(LEAD) S-Oil Q4 net down 8.3 pct as refining margins, FX gains fall

S-Oil Corp., South Korea's third-biggest refiner by crude oil distillation unit, said Friday its fourth-quarter net profit fell 8.3 percent from a year earlier due to low refining margins and decreased currency gains. Net profit for the three months ended in December fell to 209.84 billion won (US$158 million) from 228.92 billion won during the same period of 2022, the company said in a statement. "Refining margins in the December quarter were not as strong as the year-ago quarter. Moreover, sharply decreased foreign-exchange gains ate into the bottom line," a company spokesperson said. Foreign exchange gains plunged to 162.3 billion won in this past quarter from 516.4 billion won a year ago. But the company shifted to an operating profit of 7.57 billion won from an operating loss of 160.44 billion won during the same period, helped by solid earnings in the lubricants business. Sales fell 7.2 percent to 9.83 trillion won from 10.59 trillion won. For all of 2023, net income plunged 53 percent to 998.17 billion won from 2.1 trillion won a year ago. Operating profit plummeted 58 percent to 1.42 trillion won from 3.4 trillion won during the cited period. Sales were down 16 percent to 35.73 trillion won from 42.45 trillion won. Saudi Arabia's state-controlled Aramco holds a 63.4 percent stake in S-Oil. Source: Yonhap News Agency