Plantations International News

Neste, a Finland-based renewable diesel producer, reported better than expected fourth-quarter profits and dividend thanks to high European refining margins and favourable foreign exchange rates.

Neste, which has two conventional refineries in Finland and renewable diesel refineries in Singapore and Rotterdam, said its core operating profit in the quarter rose 39% from a year ago to €352m ($ 390m).

The company did not put a figure on its profit outlook for this year but it said it expected low crude oil prices to continue to support product demand.

In a statement, the company said that all areas of the business performed well for the fourth quarter of the year.

Green products
The firm’s Renewable Products arm recorded a full-year comparable operating profit of €402m, compared to €239m in 2014.

Neste said that its Renewable Products’ average reference margin was lower than in 2014, but it was able to its additional margin.

Stronger US dollar had a positive impact on the segment’s result. Our sales volumes reached a new record of 2.267m tonnes, an 8% increase from the previous year.

US regulation
A slightly higher share, 31% of the volume, was allocated to the North American market in 2015.

In a statement, Neste said: “In the US market the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalised growing volume mandates for biomass-based diesel for 2016 and 2017, and the Blender’s Tax Credit (BTC) was reinstated retroactively for 2015 and in advance for 2016.

“The positive contribution of the BTC on operating profit was higher in 2015 than in 2014. The use of waste- and residue feedstock was successfully expanded to average 68% of total renewable inputs in 2015.”

Speaking about the firm’s 2016 outlook, Neste’s president and CEO, Matti Lievonen, said: “Renewable Products’ reference margin is expected to remain at approximately the year 2015 average level. Utilization rates of our renewable diesel production facilities are expected to be high, excluding the scheduled turnaround at the Rotterdam refinery in April-May.”

This article was written by Liz Gyekye, editor at Biofuels International.

Biofuels Plantations International