The operator of Grangemouth refinery moved back into profit last year after an eight-figure loss in 2014.
New accounts lodged with Companies House showed Petroineos Manufacturing Scotland Limited generated a pre-tax profit of £11.65 million in the year to December 31, 2015.
The figure compares to a £18.68m loss racked up by the firm _ a joint venture between Ineos Investments (Jersey) Ltd and PetroChina International (London) Company Limited – in 2014.
Sales also improved during the year with turnover rising from £240.2m in 2014 to £288.7m last year.
In his strategic report to the accounts, director Russell Mann said the company had seen an improved financial performance but said the business still faced significant challenges.
“Whilst 2015 delivered very strong results for the refinery the longer term outlook remains challenging in the current economic climate,” Mr Mann said.
“The directors believe the steps that have already been taken to reduce overheads have paved the way to restoring sustained profitability and improving cash flow in the long term.
“Client loyalty has been retained in difficult conditions, with continued expansion of the wholesale business, and there is every reason to believe that, as growth returns to the economy the company can build on the foundations established.
“The company, in the meantime, continues its policy of continuous development, both in terms of its product range and its market reach with a significant volume of road transport fuels now exported to the Northern Ireland market via the Finnart Ocean terminal.”
The refinery has instituted an improvement plan with the goal of operating safely and increasing output while reducing costs.
The firm said its safety performance during 2015 was “very good” with a record low number of total injuries incurred and no serious accidents reported.
The refinery was, however, fined during the year after it plead guilty to a health and safety breach which occurred in 2012.
The company also reported that operational performance at Grangemouth improved during the year after the planned upgrade of catalysts on a number of units.
It said the refinery – which produces LPG’s, chemical feedstocks, transport fuels and heating and fuel oils – had operated at a very high capacity following the maintenance works and refining margins were at their highest level since the height of the financial crisis in 2009.
Mr Mann said the long term objective for the site was to achieve sustained revenue growth at a rate consistent with its five-year plan.
“The business is continuing to assess development options to improve the refinery yield profile and reduce the fuel oil product yield.
“The strategic aim is to reposition the refinery to a first quartile European performance on cost of production of transport fuels over the next five to 10 years.”