India’s HPCL posts quarterly profit above estimates on strong marketing margins

BENGALURU (Reuters) – India’s Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) on Monday reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, as a ballooning marketing margin helped offset rising crude oil prices.

The state-owned refiner reported a net profit of 51.18 billion rupees ($614.95 million) for the second quarter, compared with a loss of 21.72 billion rupees a year ago.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 24.44 billion rupees, according to LSEG data.

Global crude oil prices rose about 30% in the September quarter as production cuts by Organization Of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) squeezed global crude supply.

Indian fuel retailers have not raised pump prices for months to insulate consumers from global crude price fluctuations.

HPCL’s sale of products fell 10.5% to 1.02 trillion rupees, much like for peers Indian Oil Corp and Bharat Petroleum Corp.

HPCL’s input costs rose nearly 3%. However, its overall expenses plunged 18% at 962.21 billion rupees.

The company’s domestic sales volume rose 3% to 10.08 million metric tonnes (MMT), while its marketing arm registered 3.4% growth in quarterly sales to 10.74 MMT.

Average gross refining margin – the profit from making refined products from one barrel of oil – was $10.49 per barrel in the six months to September, compared with $12.62 per barrel a year ago.

Last month, other state-owned refiners Indian Oil and Bharat Petroleum also reported quarterly profits on higher marketing margins.

Shares of HPCL settled 1.8% higher ahead of the results, after plunging nearly 7% in the September quarter.

($1 = 83.2257 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Manvi Pant in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)