UPDATE 2-Chemicals pick-up boosts Vopak Q1 profit
* Adjusted EBIT 110 million euros vs Reuters poll 102 mln
* Says expects core profit of at least 560 mln eur in 2010
* Sees chemical flows recovering * Shares rise 2.4 percent, outpacing market
(Adds detail, background)
By Catherine Hornby AMSTERDAM, April 27 (Reuters) - Dutch oil and chemicals storage firm Vopak's (VOPA.AS) operating profit rose more than expected in the first quarter, helped by a pick-up in chemicals sector, and it lifted its minimum forecast for profit growth in 2010.
Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), excluding exceptional items, rose to 110 million euros ($147 million) in the first quarter, compared with a 102 million euros average forecast in a Reuters survey of five analysts, and up from 86 million euros in the same period in 2009.
"Following higher output of the chemical industry, the global flows of chemical products revived from the sharp drop early last year," Chief Executive John Paul Broeders said in a statement.
Shares in Vopak rose 2.4 percent to 65.17 euros by 0815 GMT, making it among the top gainers in Amsterdam, where the AEX .AEX index was down 0.6 percent. Vopak shares are up about 15 percent on the year.
The world's largest independent tank terminal operator said it expected earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to rise by at least 9 percent to 560 million euros in 2010. Its previous forecast was for EBITDA to rise between 5-10 percent in the full year.
"We believe that the bottom of our outlook has increased, it has sharpened to the end of the range we originally communicated, " Chief Financial Officer Jack de Kreij said in an interview.
Several analysts welcomed the adjusted outlook.
"The lift in guidance so early in the year is positive and we do not rule out another upgrade in the course of the year," KBC Securities' Michael Roeg said in a note.
As demand for Vopak's oil storage services remains robust, driven by imbalances between producing and consuming regions, flows of chemical products also revived in the first quarter, helped by a recovery in the European chemicals market.
The company has described 2010 as a transition year as it develops projects that are due to come on-stream in 2011 or 2012. On Tuesday it reaffirmed its forecast for capacity expansion to boost EBITDA to between 625 million euros and 700 million euros in 2012. (Reporting by Catherine Hornby; Editing by Mike Nesbit and Andrew Callus) ($1=.7504 euros)
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