Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) on Tuesday reported more than doubling of its net profit for the December quarter on the back of inventory gains resulting from rising oil prices.
Net profit in October-December at Rs 2,777.6 crore was 120 per cent higher than Rs 1,260.6 crore net profit in the same period a year back.
"Third quarter (of 2020-21 fiscal) has been the strongest in terms of profit before tax and profit after tax in this fiscal year. We are back to pre-COVID levels of sales," BPCL Director (Finance) N Vijayagopal said on a media call.
The company booked Rs 771 crore inventory gains after the fuel it made from crude oil it bought at lower prices got sold at higher rates.
It also had a foreign exchange gain of Rs 76 crore.
BPCL, which owns four refineries in the country, earned USD 2.47 on turning every barrel of crude oil into fuel in the October-December quarter, down from USD 3.23 per barrel gross refining margin (GRM) in the same period a year back.
Sales were up 1.4 per cent to Rs 86,579.9 crore.
"COVID is over for us," he said, adding domestic sales of petroleum products at 11.10 million tonnes in the third quarter were higher than 11.02 million tonnes sales during the corresponding period of FY20.
With demand returning following a relaxation in pandemic restrictions, the firm's refineries are operating at 105 per cent of capacity.
Fuel demand in 2021 will be better than 2020 and it will further improve in 2022, he said.
As on December 31, 2020, BPCL had a total petrol pump network of 17,841 which has crossed 18,000 now, "affirming our position as the second-largest fuel retailer in the country," he said.
"We have revised our capex targets to Rs 9,000 crores (for current fiscal) from the earlier target of Rs 8,000 crores. We have already spent Rs 5,688 crores during the nine months ended December 31, 2020," he said.
"We are back to pre-COVID levels in Q3FY21 as we recorded the best performance in diesel and petrol in market sales amongst the peer PSUs and proclaim ourselves as a market growth leader in these categories," Vijayagopal said.
BPCL market sales grew 24 per cent and to support this demand, refinery throughput increased by 29 per cent over Q2FY21.
Petrol sales grew 15 per cent quarter-on-quarter, diesel by over 31 per cent and LPG by 9 per cent, he said, adding aviation turbine fuel (ATF) sales remained below normal levels as COVID-19 restrictions continue on airline operations.
"We have also recorded the GRM of USD 2.47, which is the best amongst the oil marketing companies," he said. "This is on the back of tough global environment with low crack spreads.
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