State-owned gas utility GAIL (India) Ltd today reported an 18 per cent rise in the December quarter net profit at Rs 1,285 crore on the back of higher revenues from gas trading.
GAIL posted a net profit of Rs 1,284.86 crore in October-December compared to Rs 1,091.42 crore in the same period a year ago, the company Chairman and Managing Director B C Tripathi told reporters here.
The profit was higher despite a sharp increase in firm's fuel subsidy outgo at Rs 614 crore from Rs 536.12 crore in the year-ago period.
Upstream firms like ONGC and GAIL make good a portion of losses that fuel retailers suffer on selling diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene at government controlled rates.
Tripathi said the company has till now paid Rs 2,100 crore subsidy in the current fiscal.
Total income increased from Rs 11,315.50 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2011 to Rs 12,658.37 crore in the third quarter of current fiscal.
GAIL board approved payment of an interim dividend of 40 per cent (Rs 4 per equity share) for 2012-13 fiscal.
Revenue from gas trading rose 10.5 per cent to Rs 10,118 crore while that from gas transmission fell 9 per cent to Rs 989.36 crore. Income from petrochemical business increased to Rs 1,106.98 crore in third quarter from Rs 877.98 crore in the year-ago period.
GAIL, he said, aims to nearly triple import of liquid gas (LNG) this year. "We imported 12 cargoes (ship loads) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2012 at an average of one cargo a month. This year, we intent to do two-and-half to three cargoes every month."
He said 16 cargoes have been booked for import at Dahej terminal in Gujarat and remaining at the just commissioned Dabhol plant in Maharashtra.
The gross margin in October-December period increased by 19 per cent to Rs 2,156 crore while profit before tax increased by 16 per cent to Rs 1,859 crore.
Revenues from LPG and liquid hydrocarbons business increased by 32 per cent to Rs 1,277 crore and that from petrochemicals business soared 26 per cent to Rs 1,107 crore.
Sales from natural gas trading increased by 11 per cent to Rs 10,118 crore.
During the third quarter, natural gas sales decreased to 81.77 million standard cubic meters per day from 84.94 mmscmd in the year-ago period.