After 14 long years, NOC becomes debt-freeThe Nepal Oil Corporation has finally been debt-free after 14 years. The state-owned utility paid the remaining portion of loans worth Rs1.41 billion to the government on Sunday, the NOC said.
The Nepal Oil Corporation has finally been debt-free after 14 years. The state-owned utility paid the remaining portion of loans worth Rs1.41 billion to the government on Sunday, the NOC said.
Once heavily indebted with an outstanding loan totalling Rs36.87 billion, the NOC paid off all the loans in the past one year and a half—thanks to falling oil prices in the international market. The corporation paid Rs800 million in principle and Rs610 million in interest, NOC Spokesperson Mukunda Ghimire confirmed.
The NOC had started taking loans from the government and various banks and financial institutions since 2002, which had swollen to Rs36.87 billion in January 2015. It owed Rs12.64 billion to the government and the rest to different banks and financial institutions, including Employees Provident Fund and Citizen Investment Trust.
NOC’s hefty loan was attributed to heavy losses it had incurred on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) largely because of subsidies provided to LPG consumers. It had subsidised as much as Rs1,043 per cylinder in January 2013. “As a result, the enterprise had suffered Rs1.5 billion in monthly losses,” said Ghimire.
According to the NOC, its financial position started to dwindle in the fiscal year 2002-03 when the petroleum prices followed the upward spiral in the international market. The oil price peaked to $147 per barrel in 2007. But the ease in prices in recent years, along with the automatic price mechanism with its supplier Indian Oil Corporation since September 2014, has helped improve its financial health. Brent crude price fell to $27.67 a barrel last January—the lowest since 2003.
The NOC reported a profit of Rs18 billion in the last fiscal year—first time since 2008-09. It has been charging an additional 25 paisa on a litre of diesel for paying interest on its loan, Ghimire said. After clearing all of its dues, the enterprise is now making a profit of 67 paisa on a litre of diesel; Rs6.61 on a litre of petrol; Rs16.72 on a litre of kerosene and Rs45.07 per cylinder of cooking gas. Its profit on the sale of a litre of jet fuel to domestic airlines currently stands at Rs13.64. The NOC’s profit is projected at Rs353 million per month.