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Healthy rise in Linde profit

Calcutta, Feb. 7: Industrial gas company Linde India Ltd, formerly BOC India, has posted a 22.5 per cent jump in net profit for the fourth quarter ended December at Rs 55.5 crore against Rs 45.3 crore in the corresponding quarter of 2012.

Gross sales increased 31.7 per cent to Rs 463.1 crore during the quarter from Rs 351.5 crore a year ago.

For the year ended December, gross sales rose 7.35 per cent to Rs 1,503.2 crore from Rs 1,400.2 crore in 2012. Net profit, however, fell 13.53 per cent to Rs 77.3 crore from Rs 89.4 crore on account of a lower annual exceptional income.

Operating profit in 2013 surged 50 per cent to Rs 140.8 crore from Rs 94.1 crore in the previous year. This has been attributed to large volume contracts, cost efficiency and the production of specialty gases and healthcare solutions in appropriate amounts from the revenue perspective.

In the first half of 2013, the company won a contract from Reliance Industries to build six air separation plants for the production of industrial oxygen at the refinery and petrochemical site at Jamnagar, Gujarat.

Linde is focusing on expanding the cylinder business and healthcare segments to drive growth. In healthcare, the company plans to offer comprehensive gas management solutions in large metros.

The company is investing in research and development to manufacture high-pressure oxygen cylinders of greater capacity that provides value and convenience to users. It has started a pilot project in Bangalore to test these cylinders and will commence another one in Pune within a month.

“A sharp positive rebound has been witnessed in the fourth quarter of the calender year despite the previous three quarters being sort of flat. For the current year, we are hopeful that things will look up, especially in steel,” said Moloy Banerjee, managing director, Linde India.

“We hope that manufacturing picks up. Linde is bullish about India and has committed investments worth Rs 2,500 crore from 2008 onwards, of which Rs 2,000 crore has already been invested,” he added.

Linde India has recommended a dividend of 15 per cent, or Rs 1.50 per share, for the year ended December 2013.

Banerjee said the company had commissioned two 853 tonnes-per-day air separation units for Steel Authority of India Limited.

The first unit went into commercial production in January, while the second one is expected to be operational before the first week of March, depending on the requirement of gas at Rourkela.

It expects to commission by early next year two air separation units of 1,200 tonnes-per-day capacity at Tata Steel’s new facility at Kalinganagar, Odisha.

 
 
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