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Petrol giant Galp suffers 18% fall in profits

Portuguese petrol giant Galp has closed 37 service stations and made more than 200 employees redundant because of the recession.

The company, led by President Ferreira de Oliveira, saw its year-on-year profits tumble by 18% in 2011 – a year which saw fuel prices soar 40% and consumption levels plummet by 11% for petrol and 8% for diesel.

Despite the recession, however, the company still managed to rake in €251 million in profits.

The closure of petrol service stations has taken place all over the country and is owed essentially to a fall in consumption.

According to Galp, internal petrol consumption fell 11% while diesel fell 8%, reflecting greater prudence on the part of families and companies.

But it was industrial fuel use that suffered the greatest fall of all, plummeting 20% and reflecting reduced consumption as a result of falling economic output and activity in Portugal.

The loss of 222 jobs in Portugal did not mean the staff had been dismissed, a company source insisted, adding that in most cases contracts had come to an end and had not be renewed.

Galp has invested €1.4 billion in modernising and converting its refineries in what has been the largest private investment project ever carried out in Portugal in recent years.

The company’s oil wells in Angola have already reached their maximum output and are likely to decline without further investment and exploration.

The company is also to take a decision by 2013 to carry out exploration drilling on and off the coast of Portugal.

The company also made substantial profits last year by supplying natural gas to Japan to make up for the energy lost from its Fukushima nuclear power station disaster following the March 2011 tsunami. C.G.

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