Mari Petroleum’s profit fell 17.95% to Rs6.96 billion in the quarter ended March 31, 2021 owing to exchange rate losses as Pakistani rupee appreciated by Rs7 against the US dollar in the third quarter of fiscal year 2020-21.

According to a notice sent to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Monday, the oil exploration firm had reported a profit of Rs8.48 billion in the same quarter of 2020.

Accordingly, earnings per share amounted to Rs52.14 during the January-March 2021 quarter compared to Rs63.54 in the corresponding period of 2020.

Along with the result, the company announced an interim cash dividend of Rs60 per share for the nine-month period ended March 31, 2021.

Net sales were recorded at Rs16.12 billion for the quarter under review, which was 15% lower than Rs18.98 billion in the same quarter of previous fiscal year.

Arif Habib Limited analysts Tahir Abbas and Muhammad Iqbal Javaid said net sales fell 15% amid a 13% year-on-year drop in the wellhead price for Mari gas field.

Meanwhile, oil and gas production grew 30% and 3% year-on-year respectively.

Operating expenses of the company increased from Rs3.43 billion during January-March 2020 to Rs3.48 billion in January-March 2021, a rise of nearly 2%. Similarly, exploration and prospecting expenditure stood at Rs947.3 million during the January-March 2021 quarter, down 57.5% compared to Rs2.23 billion in the same quarter of 2020.

The analysts added that the plunge in exploration cost was attributable to lower prospecting expenditures.

Other income nosedived from Rs239.27 million during January-March 2020 to just Rs4.97 million in January-March 2021.

“Other income plunged by a massive 98% year-on-year due to a decline in income from the seismic unit,” the analysts pointed out. On the other hand, finance income contracted 36.8% to Rs846.67 million. Finance income had stood at Rs1.34 billion in the first quarter of 2020.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2021.

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