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Tax refund brings SCI back in black

Our Bureau

MUMBAI, Oct. 25

AN income tax refund of Rs 82.42 crore enabled Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) to come out of the red in the second quarter.

Despite a fall in the total income, the company (which suffered a Rs 6 crore loss in the first quarter of the current fiscal) has reported a net profit of Rs 77 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2002 (Rs 64.40 crore).

But for the extraordinary income, SCI, the largest shipping company in the country, would have ended the quarter with a marginal loss. Total income fell sharply to Rs 602.28 crore from Rs 747.65 crore in the year ago period.

Mr P.K. Srivastava, Chairman, SCI, said income from operations was lower due to depressed freight market throughout the quarter. However, the overall performance has been better than the first quarter, he said.

"We should do better in the next quarter as freight rates, particularly tanker rates, have started picking up,'' he said.

Major part of the company's income (around 60 per cent) comes from tanker segment.

Despite higher wages and bunker cost, the company could keep the total expenditure lower, he said.

SCI's performance assumes particular significance as the disinvestment process is in an advanced stage. "The figures of current quarter could only have a positive impact on the company's valuation by the potential bidders,'' said an SCI official.

SCI shares closed at Rs 69.40 on the BSE today from Rs 70.70 on Thursday. Earning per share works out to Rs 2.73.

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