State-owned gas utility GAIL (India) Ltd on Wednesday reported 19 per cent rise in December quarter net profit after an uptick in petrochemical margin more than neutralised losses on gas marketing.
Net profit of Rs 1,487.33 crore, or Rs 3.30 a share, in October-December, was 19 per cent more than Rs 1,250.65 crore, or Rs 2.77 per share, in the same period a year back, the company said in a statement.
The firm's petrochemical business swung into black with a pre-tax profit of Rs 434.08 crore in the third quarter of the current fiscal year as against a loss of Rs 8.51 crore in the same period of the previous year.
Natural gas marketing however went into red with a loss of Rs 73.70 crore as against a pre-tax profit of Rs 466.52 crore.
Gas transportation, the mainstay business of the company, was almost flat and so was its LPG and liquid hydrocarbons business.
GAIL recorded a 13 per cent increase in turnover at Rs 15,386 crore.
"Both physical, as well as the financial performance of the company, improved further across all major segments in Q3 as compared to Q2 FY21," the statement said.
Natural gas transmission improved 4 per cent quarter-on-quarter, 8 per cent in gas marketing, 3 per cent in LPG transmission, 3 per cent in petrochemical sales, and 8 per cent in liquid hydrocarbon sales.
"GAIL's petrochemical performance improved further in Q3, and the plant is operating at more than 100 per cent capacity," the statement said.
Petrochem profitability was more than double of Rs 170 crore in Q2 (July-September) 2020-21 fiscal.
For the nine months ended December 31, 2020, GAIL recorded a turnover of Rs 41,057 crore as against Rs 54,021 crore.
Net profit was lower at Rs 2,983 crore when compared to Rs 3,602 crore during April-December 2019-20.
GAIL Chairman and Managing Director Manoj Jain said 450-kilometer Kochi-Mangaluru pipeline and 348-km Dobhi-Durgapur were commissioned this year.
"The commissioning of pipelines will not only increase customers but also lead to growth in gas marketing and transmission," he said. "GAIL is trying to accelerate the progress in its ongoing projects." GAIL also said it has signed a share purchase and shareholders agreement (SPSHA) to buy 5 per cent stake in Indian Gas Exchange Ltd (IGX).
IGX, India's first automated delivery-based gas trading platform, was launched in June 2020.
IGX has secured the necessary authorization to operate as a gas exchange under the regulations for a period of 25 years.
"GAIL is already a member of IGX and has now also joined as a shareholder," a separate statement by GAIL said.
With a view to increasing the share of natural gas in primary energy mix of the country, the government is promoting gas trading exchanges where natural gas can be supplied / traded through an efficient market-based mechanism.
"It is expected that this partnership will play a role in achieving the Government of India's vision for increasing the share of natural gas from 6 per cent to 15 per cent," it said.