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IOC plans Rs 3,000-cr investments

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Dr. N.G. Kannan (right), Director (Marketing), Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, with Mr T.L. Jain, Executive Director, Retail Sales, at a press conference in Mumbai on Wednesday. - Shashi Ashiwal

Mumbai , April 7

INDIAN Oil Corporation Ltd has planned investments worth Rs 3,000 crore on retail initiatives in the new financial year.

The company today said it would add another 1,000 petrol bunks to its existing chain of 9,155 outlets thus crossing the 10,000-mark in year 2004-05.

The company will invest Rs 1,348 crore in various retail schemes. Apart from setting up new outlets, it will also invest in a retail visual identity programme to change the look of its outlets and in computerising at least 1,000 outlets in the first phase of automation.

"Last year was a good year for the company where it gained market share and added 1,122 new retail outlets," Dr N.G. Kannan, Director (Marketing) IOC, told reporters today.

The industry has seen growth in sales for the first time in three years. It has registered an overall positive growth of 0.7 per cent, Dr Kannan said.

However, overall per pump monthly sales of petrol and diesel for oil companies fell to 44 kilolitres (49 kl) and 133 kl (150 kl) respectively.

"There was an increase in the number of retail outlets with all oil companies adding to their respective networks. So the average per pump throughput was distributed over a higher number of outlets," he said.

IOC has planned investments of Rs 1,250 crore on LPG infrastructure in the coming year; Rs 258 crore will be spent on operations and the rest on aviation, lubes and consumer sales businesses.

The company is eyeing expansion of its retail business in the overseas market, Dr Kannan said. He said the company's board has given its go-ahead for the acquisition of BP's assets in Malaysia.

Holding back price hikes hurt oil companies: Oil companies have lost close to Rs 360 crore as a result of holding back the price hikes for petrol and diesel in financial year 2003-04, senior IOC officials said. IOC has lost close to Rs 180 crore as a result.

Crude prices globally have gone up substantially in the last one-year, touching $30 per barrel in the recent times. Indian companies have held back price hikes in the election year.

Oil marketing companies have cumulatively lost Rs 1,500 crore because of the restriction on raising prices of LPG and kerosene, both of which are subsidised by the Union Government.

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