July 25 (Reuters) - Finnish biofuel producer and oil refiner Neste reported a smaller than expected rise in quarterly profit on Thursday, sending its shares sharply lower.
Shares in Neste, which produces diesel and other fuels from renewable materials at plants in Singapore and Rotterdam, dropped 6.5% to 29.51 euros in early trading.
Second-quarter core operating profit rose 32 percent from a year ago to 367 million euros ($408 million), missing analysts’ average forecast of 384 million in a Refinitiv poll.
Neste said that second quarter sales at its renewables unit rose 20 percent to 955 million euros and the division’s core operating profit was up 62 percent at 286 million.
Neste said that the division’s third-quarter sales volumes and utilisation rates would remain high, but said a catalyst change at Rotterdam plant would eat 50 million euros from fourth quarter operating profit.
The operating loss booked for its Nynas joint venture with Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA shrank in the second quarter to 13 million euros from 31 million in the first quarter.
The Finnish company holds a 49.99% stake in Nynas, which is suffering from U.S. sanctions against Venezuela as it has been using Venezuelan crude oil in its refineries across Europe. ($1 = 0.8985 euros) (Reporting by Tarmo Virki Editing by Keith Weir)