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Chinese Refiner Sinopec Post 30% Rise in 2006 Net Profit

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., better known as Sinopec, recorded a 30% rise in net profit in 2006 as strong domestic fuel demand and weaker crude oil prices late in the year offset refining losses.

The net profit of Asia's largest refiner by capacity totaled 53.9 billion yuan (US$7 billion) in 2006, up from 41.5 billion yuan in 2005, the company reported Tuesday.

State subsidies worth 5 billion yuan also helped boost earnings. Revenue rose to 1.05 trillion yuan from 799.3 billion yuan the year before, the company reported.

Sinopec's operating loss for its refineries jumped to 23.9 billion yuan from 7.84 billion yuan in 2005.

But its marketing division saw a 60.7% jump in operating profit on strong fuel sales last year. Sinopec owns China's largest gasoline station network.

The company said it expects to report a more than 50% jump in net profit for first quarter 2007 due to expanded operating capacity. It did not give a figure. In 2006, Sinopec's first quarter net profit was 9.1 billion yuan.

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