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UPDATE 1-Australia's Ampol first-half profit falls on weak refining margins, lower demand

(Adds details on sales volumes, refining margins and impairment charge)

Aug 25 (Reuters) - Fuel supplier Ampol Ltd reported an 11% fall in first-half profit on Tuesday, hurt by a slump in refining margins and fuel demand due to coronavirus-induced lockdowns and the collapse of international travel.

Retail fuel demand in the country, which was staging a nascent recovery towards June, came under renewed threat from a second wave of infections, while the jet fuel outlook remains bleak as international travel shows no signs of recovery.

Net profit for the six months ended June 30 fell to A$120 million ($85.96 million) on a replacement cost basis, which excludes the impact of inventory and foreign exchange changes, from A$135 million a year earlier.

Retail fuel volumes fell nearly 18%, Australian jet fuel volumes slid 50% and the company faced “extremely challenging global refining margin conditions” during the half year, Ampol said in a statement.

In its retail division, however, margins remained firm, which somewhat offset the impact of weaker sales.

Including one-time charges, the company reported a loss of A$626 million, largely due to a write-down of its retail division and the Lytton refinery, after reviewing the value of its assets taking into account the impact of the virus.

The company declared an interim dividend of 25 Australian cents per share, compared with 32 Australian cents last year. ($1 = 1.3961 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok and Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Richard Pullin)

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