China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec), the country's largest oil refiner, predicted its net profit to decrease by more than 50 percent in the first quarter of 2008 from a year earlier. ( Xinhua )
However, the company did not specify how much it earned in the first three months, according to its preliminary estimation.
The company said the continuous rise of crude oil price on the global market and domestic price controls led to big losses in refining business and squeezed profit margins.
The company's share price, which plunged 7.54 percent on Friday, has fallen more than 55 percent since the start of the year. Analysts said investors were pessimistic about the future profitability of oil refiners amid high crude prices.
The Ministry of Finance announced early this week a tax rebate to oil companies to limit their refining losses.
According to the ministry, Sinopec would get a rebate on imports of 500,000 tonnes of gasoline and 1.5 million tonnes of diesel from April 1 to June 30 this year.
Sinopec reported a net profit of 56.53 billion yuan (8.08 billion U.S. dollars) in 2007, up 5.5 percent year on year.