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IOC will maintain profitability: Behuria

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Mr S. Behuria, Chairman, Indian Oil Corporation, at the company's AGM in Mumbai on Thursday. Paul Noronha
Mr S. Behuria, Chairman, Indian Oil Corporation, at the company's AGM in Mumbai on Thursday. Paul Noronha

Our Bureau

Mumbai, Sept 22

THE recent price hike in petroleum products and the funds to be raised through oil bonds would help IOC maintain profitability and dividend payout, according to the Chairman, Mr Sarthak Behuria.

The company expects its under-recoveries to come down by Rs 2,000 crore with this price hike. The company faces a loss of Rs 6,800 crore in the first half of the current fiscal on account of under-recoveries.

"The second half of the fiscal would be much better. Our refining margins, at $6.5 a barrel, are going up. We are doing well on throughput and have no plans to defer or delay any of our projects,'' Mr Behuria told IOC shareholders on Thursday.

The company is also considering disposing off its shares in ONGC in a phased manner. "We would like to sell our nine per cent stake in ONGC but would wait for the right time," he said.

At current market prices, the stake sale would fetch around Rs 14,000-15,000 crore.

Among the various investments planned is an LNG import terminal near Chennai.

Mr Behuria said that IOC also plans to double its investment in Indian Oil (Mauritius) to $35 million for augmenting tankage capacity and setting up the country's first laboratory for product testing.

Indian Oil (Mauritius) has seven per cent share of the Mauritius market.

IOC has also finalised a deal with National Iranian Gas Exporting Company for importing 1.75 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas a year from 2009.

The company also has a Rs 25,000-crore master plan to emerge as a leading petrochemicals player in the country.

In this initiative, IOC has commissioned the world's largest single-train linear alkyl benzene (LAB) plant at Gujarat Refinery. With this, Indian Oil secured nearly 30 per cent share of the LAB business.

IOC is also setting two major petrochemical projects at the Panipat Refinery complex in Haryana, which includes an integrated paraxylene and purified terephthalic acid plant scheduled for commissioning this year and a naphtha cracker with downstream polymer unit to be completed by 2007-08.

The IOC stock ended today at Rs 435.80 on the BSE against the previous close of Rs 446.50.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 23, 2005)
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