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Caltex blames “extraordinary challenges” in economy for profit dive

The Caltex Australia Limited (ASX: CTX) share price could come under pressure today after the automobile fuel refiner and ‘servo’ store operator flagged that its replacement cost net operating profit (RCOP) for the first half of its financial year ending June 30 2019 is expected to come in between $120 million to $140 million, compared to $296 million in the prior corresponding period. 

Julian Segal, Caltex CEO said “Caltex has delivered a fair underlying performance in a very challenging market. The industry continues to experience difficult macro-economic conditions arising from the slowing Australian economy, low refining margins and high crude prices combined with a low FX rate.”

The announcement went on to claim the first half of calendar 2019 has presented “extraordinary challenges” across its industry including a weaker economy hurting demand across the transport, agriculture and transportation sectors. 

The company also warned that interest expenses were expected to rise to $65 million over the first half on net debt that has ballooned to $1,200 million from $955 million in the prior period due to the recent completion of a $260 million off-market share buy back.

As far as I remember this off-market buy-back was completed in the expectation that the Labor party would win the May Federal election and subsequently wind back franking credit benefits available to certain investors. 

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Motley Fool contributor Tom Richardson has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

You can find Tom on Twitter @tommyr345

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.