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Public sector oil & gas firms clock record profit

New Delhi, July 3: With the winds of liberalisation sweeping through the nationís hydrocarbon sector, the net profit of 12 public sector oil and gas companies has shot up by an impressive 83 per cent to touch a record high of Rs 23,255 crore for the financial year ended March 31, 2003. The net profit of these companies in the previous year was Rs 12,709 crore.

Announcing this here today, petroleum minister Ram Naik disclosed that the net profit clocked by the 12 companies was more than four times their paid-up capital of Rs 5,200 crore.

Upstream giant ONGC and downstream major Indian Oil Corporation lead the pack with a net profit of Rs 10,500 crore and Rs 6,115 crore respectively. Gail (India) Ltd is ranked third with a net profit of Rs 1,639 crore. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) come next with a profit of Rs 1,537 crore and Rs 1,250 crore respectively. These six biggies figure in the list of the countryís top 10 profit-making companies.

However, in percentage terms, it is the smaller companies which have shown a larger increase in profitability. Amongst these, Bongaigaon Refineries and Petrochemicals Ltd (BRPL) shines out as the big turnaround story with a net profit of Rs 178 crore during the fiscal. It had made a loss of Rs 199 crore in the preceding year. The company has benefited after being taken over by IOC as it now enjoys the advantage of a strong marketing network and streamlined management.

The net profit of Kochi Refineries Ltd has gone up by 563 per cent and that of Chennai Petroleum Corporation by 375 per cent. Engineers India Ltd, which is slated for disinvestment along with HPCL, has registered a 175 per cent increase in net profit.

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