Slovnaft AS, the Slovak unit of Hungarian refiner Mol Nyrt., plans to invest in a new petrochemical plant for products with higher added value, as per Bloomberg. Mol executives will take a decision in the coming months. Slovnaft is seeking to refocus on more “sophisticated” chemicals to make it less dependent on fluctuations in the economy, when the recent slowdown cut demand for fuel. Petrochemicals such as polyethylene accounted for about 20% of Slovnaft’s H-1 sales of €1.22 bln (US$$1.7 bln), with the rest stemming from refinery products. Over the past three years, Slovnaft has spent €40 mln to boost the capacity of its ethylene unit and make production more energy efficient.
The refiner margins were hurt by lower demand for fuel and maintenance shutdowns, widening net loss to €12 mln in H1-2010 from €5 mln in H1-09. In 2009, when the Slovak economy suffered its first-ever contraction, the company posted a loss of €55.7 mln, compared with a €24.9 mln profit a year earlier.