IOC net profit falls 47% in Q1

Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC), the nation’s biggest oil firm, on Friday reported a 47 per cent drop in its June quarter net profit as coronavirus pandemic pummelled fuel demand and shrank refinery margins.

Standalone net profit in April-June at Rs 1,910.84 crore, or Rs 2.08 per share, was 46.8 per cent lower than Rs 3,596.11 crore, or Rs 3.92 a share, net profit in the same period of the last financial year, IOC Chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidya told reporters here. “The variation in net profit is primarily due to inventory losses,” he said.

The firm recorded an inventory loss of Rs 3,196 crore in Q1 as compared to inventory gain of Rs 2,362 crore a year back, he said. Inventory loss is booked when a company buys raw material (crude oil in case of IOC) at a certain price but by the time it is able to process it into finished product (fuel in case of IOC), prices have fallen. Since refinery gate prices are determined by prevailing international oil prices, an inventory loss is recorded. Inventory gain is booked if the reverse happens.

He said crude oil prices averaged USD 29.6 per barrel in the first quarter of the fiscal year beginning April 2020 as compared to USD 50.1 per barrel in the preceding quarter and USD 68.9 in Q1 in 2019-20.

Rates have crawled to USD 40 in July and are expected to stay around that level in the second half. Vaidya said pandemic had hit demand, resulting in lower capacity utilisation at refineries. Capacity utilisation at the company’s refineries averaged 69 per cent in the first quarter and had risen to 93 per cent in July but subsequent lockdowns by states have lowered the capacity utilisation to 75 per cent, he said.

“We won’t get back to normal times in the near future” due to way pandemic was spreading, he said. With a good part of the quarter being spent under lockdown where vehicular movement was sparse, IOC fuel sales fell 29 per cent to 15.25 million tonnes.

He said petrol demand fell 36 per cent to 2 million tonnes while diesel sales were down 35 per cent at 6.5 million tonnes. With most airlines grounded, ATF sales fell 79 per cent to 0.24 million tonnes. LPG sales however recorded a 15.7 per cent rise due to the government’s free cooking gas scheme for the poor.