Bold decisions needed: oil giant CEO

Bold decisions are needed instead of just standard administrating skills for a company to achieve high net profits. That is the message given in an interview for “Puls Biznesu” by Daniel Obajtek, CEO of the Poland’s largest oil refiner and petrol retailer, PKN Orlen

The interview comes in the wake of the company presenting its financial results for the first quarter of 2021. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and lower fuel sales, the company recorded a net profit of almost EUR 450 mln.

“You need to have visions as well as investment, optimisation and acquisition plans. We need to actively manage the company, make bold decisions and not only administer it. Effects of our work can be seen in data,” the CEO said in the interview.

He emphasised ​that the results for the first quarter of this year came back well above analysts' expectations.

“EUR 560 mln in EBITDA, EUR 440 mln in net profit - and what is most important for the stock exchange and investors, that is generated cash. We generated the highest cash income from operating activities in five years, although the macroeconomic environment is clearly weaker,” he said and pointed to the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on fuel demand.

The lower demand for fuel was off-set by a successful initiative to increase non-fuel retail sales and acquisitions of other companies which have brought in a lot of profits, such as Energa SA, which deals in the generation, distribution, and supplies electricity to 2.7 mln people in Northern Poland

“Energa did not take over by itself and I did not get it as a gift, someone had to make that decision and implement the process,” Mr Obajtek emphasised.

He stressed that the entire company board and all employees should be credited with the company’s success.

“Last year we made a very courageous decision on a large purchase of CO2 emission rights, which secured these rights until mid-2023. We bought them for EUR 24 per tonne, and today the price is EUR 48,” he said. The CEO underlined that just that decision made the company EUR 132 mln.

Mr Obajtek also revealed that an agreement is about to be signed with a contractor for the expansion of the company's olefin fiber complex in Płock, central Poland. He added that it will be the largest investment in the history of Polish petrochemistry.

The PKN Orlen CEO also announced that only a few weeks remain before the company will sign an agreement with a contractor for the construction of a gas-fired power plant at the Power Station in Ostrołęka, central Poland.

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