Italy’s Eni posts massive 2020 loss on virus hit

Italian energy giant ENI said Friday it booked a net loss of 8.6 billion euros ($10.4 billion) in 2020, suffering like its peers as the coronavirus pandemic pushed down the price of oil and gas. 

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected the company to report a net loss of 7.6 billion euros after a net profit of 148 million euros in 2019. 

In the fourth quarter of 2020 alone, as the economy recovered some of the ground lost earlier in the year due to stringent virus lockdowns, ENI posted a net loss of 725 million euros, again worse than expected.

In the corresponding period of 2019, the company had recorded a net loss of 1.9 billion euros.

Stripping out exceptional items, ENI said its 2020 net loss amounted to 742 million euros, but it booked a small profit of 66 million euros in the fourth quarter.

“The shock from the pandemic sparked a collapse in prices and profit margins for raw materials,” the company said.

In April last year, oil prices even turned negative at one point, but they have since recovered to trade above $60 per barrel on a combination of production cuts and increased demand.

Revenues in 2020 tumbled to just under 44 billion euros, coming in well below analyst forecasts for just under 56 billion euros.