BPCL declares record Rs 12,581 crore dividend ahead of privatisation

New Delhi: Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) on Wednesday declared a record Rs 12,581 crore dividend, more than half of which will go to the government, ahead of the privatisation of the company.

In a regulatory filing, BPCL said its "Board of Directors has recommended a final dividend of Rs 58 per equity share (including one-time special dividend of Rs 35 per equity share of Rs 10 each) for the financial year ended 31 March, 2021 subject to the approval of the shareholders."

The dividend works out to Rs 12,581.66 crore, including special dividend of Rs 7592.38 crore.

The government, which is selling its entire 52.98 percent stake in BPCL, will get Rs 6,665.76 crore plus dividend distribution tax.

The dividend declared is in addition to the interim dividend of Rs 21 per share paid earlier in the fiscal.

The company did not give any reason for declaring the record dividend but the firm had received Rs 9,876 crore from sale of its 61.5 per cent stake in Numaligarh refinery in Assam to a consortium of Oil India Ltd, Engineers India Ltd and the Government of Assam in March.

Almost simultaneously, the firm had bought 36.62 percent of the equity held by OQ S.A.O.C (formerly known as Oman Oil Company S.A.O.C) in Bina refinery for Rs 2,399.26 crore.

The net gain made by BPCL after the two deals was Rs 7,477 crore - almost the same amount as the special dividend declared on Wednesday.

For the fiscal year ended 31 March, 2021 (FY 2020-21), BPCL reported a record standalone net profit of Rs 19,041.67 crore on back of the stake sale as well as higher refining margin resulting from inventory gains accruing from rebounding oil prices.

The profit compared with Rs 2,683.19 crore net profit in 2019-20, the filing showed.

In the January-March quarter, net profit rose to Rs 11,940.13 crore from Rs 2,777.62 crore a year back.

The firm earned $4.06 on turning every barrel of crude oil into fuel in FY21 as compared to a gross refining margin of $2.50 per barrel a year back.

Also, the company made a gain of Rs 199.75 crore on foreign exchange as compared to a loss of Rs 1,662.34 crore in FY20.

"The market sales of the Corporation for the year ended 31 March, 2021 was 38.74 million tonnes as compared to 43.10 million tonnes achieved during the year ended 31 March, 2020.

"Decrease is mainly in diesel (-10.66 percent), petrol (-7.83 percent), ATF (-60.32 percent) and partly offset by increase in LPG (6.24 percent)," the firm said.

Commenting on the fourth quarter earnings, BPCL Director (Finance) N Vijayagopal said, "We witnessed a V-shaped recovery in the second half of the financial year resulting in robust growth in fuel sales."

"In an unprecedented year that began with a lockdown across the country and subdued business and economic activities, the fourth quarter was a stand-out quarter that helped the company to report its highest ever growth in bottomline," he said.

BPCL market sales of diesel grew by 5.98 percent and petrol by 9.89 percent. "Our debt level has come down to normal level of Rs 26,000 crore," he said.