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First quarter lights up CESC fortunes

Calcutta, July 28: CESC has reported its first quarterly profit in three years, racking up earnings of Rs 15 crore in the three months to June against a net loss of Rs 23 crore in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.

Net sales shot up 16.36 per cent to Rs 640 crore from Rs 550 crore in the first quarter of the last financial year.

The R. P. Goenka-controlled utility attributed the turnaround to tariff revision and higher efficiency levels. It ended 2003-04 with a net loss of Rs 49 crore and last made a quarterly profit, of Rs 2 crore, in April-June 1999.

A company release said net sales for the quarter ended June 30 have been accounted for on the basis of the interim tariff order passed by the West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission on April 23 for 2003-04.

The results are, therefore, subject to changes that could be necessitated by the final order of the commission on the tariff petition made by the company for 2003-04.

The return to profit has taken the earnings per share (EPS) of the company into a positive figure, at Rs 2.60.

A reduction in the transmission and distribution loss, higher generation, lower imports and higher sales have together led to a sharp improvement in first-quarter results compared with same time last year.

The impact of a 20 per cent increase in the prices of power purchased was offset by a ramp-up in generation and lower energy procurement from other agencies, containing the rise in the cost of electricity buying at Rs 7 crore. The release said interest cost is expected to improve in the next quarter as the debt restructuring exercise is completed. The company has debts of Rs 3,300 crore.

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