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PETROFINA 'F-1' U.S. & EURO COMMERCIAL PAPER PROGRAMS AFFIRMED BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 NEW YORK, Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Petrofina Delaware, Inc.'s (PDI) "F-1" U.S. commercial paper program and the "F-1" Euro commercial paper programs issued by Petrofina International Group and PDI are affirmed by Fitch. Petrofina S.A., the parent company of the Petrofina Group, unconditionally guarantees the CP programs. As of Oct. 1, approximately $260 million of U.S. commercial paper and $241 million of Euro commercial paper were outstanding.
 The rating reflects the group's well diversified, highly integrated, and financially conservative position within the international petroleum sector. Management has focused on realigning worldwide operations and lowering costs through improved efficiencies. Maintenance of the group's financial liquidity in volatile upstream and downstream petroleum commodity markets is a top priority for management. A slight recovery in the petroleum markets for 1994 is anticipated by group management; however, this expectation is not factored into the rating. Completion during 1994 of an asset upgrade and enhancement program that began in 1987 will stabilize the group's operating and financial capabilities. Of concern, is the group's potential US$1 billion capex requirements for maintaining and upgrading the Ekofisk facilities. A decision by Norway regarding submitted proposals is expected by mid-1994. The group has the flexibility to redirect future upstream budget funds to cover their portion of any Ekofisk upgrade, so that leverage will not be increasing.
 The 1991 to 1992 drop in group cash flows (from equivalent US$1.4 billion to US$1.0 billion) is attributable to lower net earnings, US$144 million versus US$477 million. The 1992 net results include extraordinary charges totaling US$111 million. In line with management's expectations, the group reported an 8 percent decline in first-half 1993 net results compared to 1992. First-half 1993 results were affected by a strike at the Antwerp refinery; however, future earnings will continue to benefit from lower interest rates and appreciation of the US dollar. Debt levels are anticipated to decline (debt-to-capital ratio increased to 44.2 percent at year-end 1992 from 41.2 percent at year-end 1991) as the capital improvement program will end with the third-quarter 1994 completion of the Antwerp refinery margin enhancement program and management is committed to future capex matching cash flows. The group replaced 125 percent of its hydrocarbon production during 1992. Additionally, future financial flexibility was enhanced by halving the annual dividend at year-end 1992. The group has strong relationships with a globally diverse number of commercial banks and conservatively manages foreign exchange, liquidity and debt maturity risks.
 Petrofina S.A. is Belgium's largest industrial enterprise. The Group encompasses companies operating worldwide, engaging in petroleum, exploration and production, petroleum refining, marketing and transportation, and the production and marketing of petrochemicals and paints. PDI, based in Dallas, is 100 percent owned by Petrofina S.A. In turn, PDI owns approximately 86 percent of the total voting stock in Fina, Inc.
 -0- 10/27/93
 /CONTACT: M.B. Davis, 212-908-0616, or Nancy E. Stroker, CFA, 212-908-0533, both of Fitch/


CO: Petrofina Delaware, Inc.; Petrofina International Group;
 Petrofina S.A. ST: Texas IN: OIL SU: RTG


MP -- NY069 -- 7297 10/27/93 12:31 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 27, 1993
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