Greece's biggest refiner, Hellenic Petroleum, on Thursday reported third-quarter net profit of 60 million euros ($89.26 million) after a loss in the same period last year, as the value of its oil inventories rose.

The refiner's earnings were above an average analyst forecast of 52.7 million euros.

Stripping out the effect of crude prices on the company's oil inventories and other non-operating items, adjusted clean net profit unexpectedly rose to 74 million euros, far above analysts' 45.2 million euro average forecast.

Adjusted clean earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) stood at 117 million euros, compared with a forecast of 84.8 million, despite cracking refining margins at a six-year low, the company said.

We delivered increased profitability due to our continuous efforts across all our business activities to further enhance the group's competitiveness, Hellenic's Chief Executive Officer John Costopoulos said in a statement.

Hellenic is active in 10 countries in southeast Europe. Operations range from oil exploration and refining to petrol stations and petrochemicals. In June, Hellenic agreed to acquire the Greek gas station network of BP Plc for 359 million euros.

The company's 1.1 billion euro upgrade of its Elefsina refinery is proceeding as originally planned, the company said. (Reporting by Harry Papachristou; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)