* Q2 net profit 222 mln lira vs Reuters f‘cast 281 mln lira
* Sales up 45 pct at 6.63 bln lira vs f‘cast 6.5 bln lira
* Iran sales are not ongoing, Tupras says
ISTANBUL, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Tupras (TUPRS.IS), Europe’s fourth-biggest oil refiner, on Friday posted a 40 percent drop in its second-quarter net profit, pulled lower by a weaker lira.
The company also said it was not selling fuel products to Iran at present, in light of U.S. and EU sanctions designed to put pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme.
Net income was 222 million lira ($147 million), compared with an estimate of 281 million lira in a Reuters poll of eight analysts. It earned 371 million lira in the same period of 2009.
Sales in the second quarter were 6.63 billion lira, above a forecast of 6.5 billion lira and the 4.58 billion lira it posted in the year-ago period, according to an income statement.
The lira fell against the dollar during the second quarter, so Tupras paid more in dollars for its purchases of crude, while its sales are in lira.
EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, rose 13 percent to 594 million lira in the first six months of the year, the statement showed.
Tupras had a net refining margin of $5.68 per barrel at the end of June, it said. Its profit margin was 4.1 percent higher in the first half.
Tupras, Turkey’s sole refiner, purchases about a third of its crude from neighbouring Iran. In June, Turkey provided about half of Iran’s gasoline needs, but sales last month dropped 73 percent to $25.6 million, equivalent to about one cargo, as sanctions against Iran took effect.
Companies doing business with Iran could see their assets exposed in the United States, which instituted the sanctions over Iran’s nuclear programme.
“In the current situation, sales of petroleum products to Iran are not being made. Therefore, there is no possibility that our company will face any kind of sanctions,” Tupras said.
Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said last week he would support Turkish energy companies doing business with Iran. Officials on Friday said the U.S. embargo did not apply to Turkey and it was bound only to U.N. sanctions. [ID:nLDE67J18Z]
Tupras shares fell 0.74 percent to 33.50 lira, in line with the benchmark index’s decline.
Koc Holding (KCHOL.IS), Turkey’s biggest company, owns 51 percent of Tupras, which operates four refineries in Turkey, with total capacity of 28.1 million tonnes. (Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Will Waterman) ($1=1.510 Turkish Lira)