Ampol wants new COVID approach after loss

·2-min read

Ampol boss Matthew Halliday says short coronavirus lockdowns are damaging longer-term consumer confidence and Australia needs a risk-based approach.

Mr Halliday was speaking on Monday after the fuel refiner posted a full-year loss of $485 million, mainly due to coronavirus restrictions limiting travel.

The company formerly known as Caltex Australia makes money from selling petrol, diesel and jet fuel, the latter particularly slumping during the pandemic.

Mr Halliday said there was some recovery in the outlook for Ampol, but its jet fuels business would continue to face significant impacts.

"In recent months we've seen ongoing rapid lockdowns," he said of heightened coronavirus restrictions, such as the five-day lockdowns in Victoria and Western Australia this month.

"They impact confidence beyond the short period.

"What the country needs is a more co-ordinated response to outbreaks that is risk-based and doesn't continue to impact the economy and confidence levels.

"We've got better experience now and we need to move to a better stage of managing the virus and learning to live with."

The company is continuing to review the future of its refinery in Lytton, Brisbane, where 300 permanent staff work.

The refinery had a loss of $145 million in earnings before interest and tax, and the company could opt to import fuel.

Mr Halliday said Ampol was having discussions with all stakeholders including the federal government.

The federal government last year outlined measures to improve the nation's fuel security.

This included a $211 million plan to build domestic storage facilities while keeping refineries open.

A decision on the refinery is set for the second quarter of this year.

Shareholders will receive a fully franked final dividend of 23 cents per share. This was lower than the previous fully franked final dividend of 51 cents per share.

Shares were down 3.59 per cent to $25.54 at 1505 AEDT.