August 31, 2017 / 3:12 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 2-Hellenic Petroleum's quarterly profit surges 46 pct as margins improve

(Adds comment on refinery resuming operations)

ATHENS, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Greece’s biggest oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum reported a 46 percent rise in second-quarter core profit on Thursday as a combination of lower crude prices and rising fuel prices lifted its margins.

The company said it also benefited from a rebound in tourism in Greece, which pushed up demand for aviation fuel, and from strong demand for bunker fuel.

Its sales rose 19 percent in April-June to 2 billion euros ($2.4 bln).

Adjusted for oil inventory holdings, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) came in at 228 million euros, up from 156 million euros in the same period last year.

The figure was broadly in line with analysts’ forecasts in a Reuters poll.

Hellenic shut down its 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) Elefsina refinery, one of three it operates in Greece, in early July after a “severe” technical glitch at its hydrogen production unit.

It said works to repair the damage were on schedule and that the refinery was expected to resume full operation next month.

“The schedule is that before the middle of September, the whole refinery will be in operation,” the group’s general manager for supply and refining, Ioannis Psychogios, told an analysts’ call.

Utility units will restart on Monday, he said.

$1 = 0.8435 euros Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Susan Fenton

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