Around 61% of listed public sector companies have posted profits while the rest were in the red in the last financial year.
The Bangladesh Shipping Corporation topped the list by registering a 213% increase in its profit, buoyed mainly by soaring freight rates.
But the Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) Ltd – the only state-owned power transmission firm in the country – has experienced a 61% profit drop owing to fluctuations in foreign currency rates.
Eighteen government firms are listed on the capital market, most of which have monopolies in their respective sectors. All firms having business monopolies are making good profits.
On the other hand, government companies having competitors in their respective industries – engineering, food and accessories sector and hotel and tourism – have not fared well, as usual.
According to financials for fiscal 2021-22, 11 of the government companies have posted profits, while seven incurred losses.
An analysis of the financial statements shows that five of the profit-making companies saw an increase in their profits while five experienced a drop in their profits.
A company made a loss in the previous year but has returned to profit in FY22 and a company that made a profit in the previous year suffered losses last year, the analysis added.
Atlas Bangladesh, Usmania Glass Sheet Factory, Zeal Bangla Sugar Mills, Shyampur Sugar Mills, Bangladesh Service Limited, Renwick Jajneswar, and National Tubes suffered losses; and the seven firms will not pay any dividends to their shareholders.
Shipping Corp sees jumps in revenue and profit
After six new ships were added to the corporation's fleet in 2018 and 2019, the global freight hike helped the shipping line earn more.
In fiscal 2021-22, the total revenue of the Shipping Corporation was Tk517 crore, which is 88% higher than the previous year and the net profit increased by 213% to Tk225 crore.
Regarding the increase in revenue and profit, Mohammad Ashraful Amin (Deputy Secretary), General Manager (Admin) of the corporation, told The Business Standard, "Ship rent has increased. Currently, the corporation's ships are globally transporting products to major countries in America and Europe, which has increased revenue."
Two fuel suppliers see profit growth
The profit of three fuel oil suppliers under the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation decreased in fiscal 2020-21 as the economic activity stalled due to lockdowns and restrictions amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Besides, the declined interest rates then hurt the cash-rich fuel distribution trio's interest income and the 2021-22 fiscal year was comparatively better for them.
However, in fiscal 2021-22, the profit of Jamuna Oil Company declined by 7.5%, while that of Padma Oil and Meghna Petroleum increased by 12.20% and 5.16% respectively.
According to their financial statements, Jamuna Oil, Meghna Petroleum and Padma Oil had suffered 14%, 8% and 16% profit drop respectively in fiscal 2020-21.
Eastern Lubricant Blenders takes hit
Eastern Lubricant Blenders received a blow in FY22 owing to zero import of base oil for lower demand from its distributors – Padma Oil, Meghna Petroleum and Jamuna Oil.
It saw a 78% year-on-year profit decline in FY22 compared to a staggering 700% increase in FY21.
In that year, its earnings per share (EPS) jumped to Tk43.48 from Tk5.43 in FY20.
Ali Absar, company secretary of Eastern Lubricant, said, "We could not import base oil owing to the global volatility and the Russia-Ukraine war. We tried but failed to import that due to a lack of suppliers."
Titas Gas profits drop 8%
Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company's profit fell by 8% due to a reduction in its distribution charges, which is the main source of income for the state-owned company.
It used to receive a charge of Tk0.25 per cubic metre of gas distribution.
But in June this year, the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (Berc) reduced the distribution charge to Tk0.13 per cubic metre.
Arpana Islam, director (finance) of Titas Gas, said, "Due to the reduction in distribution charges, the profit has decreased, which will make the company vulnerable in the future."
In the July-September quarter this year, Titas posted operating losses, while other income helped it stay afloat.
Dollar volatility hits Power Grid
Power Grid Company of Bangladesh's profit dropped due to foreign currency rate fluctuations.
According to its latest financials for fiscal 2021-22, its losses due to foreign currency rate fluctuations increased by 967% to Tk535.79 crore.
As a result, despite a 29% growth in operational profit, the net profit of the company declined by 61.68% to Tk122.61 crore – the lowest since fiscal 2016-17.
Company Secretary Md Jahangir Azad said, "According to the current exchange rate of the taka against the dollar, this loan amount is much higher than what it was last year."
"As a result, there has been a huge loss due to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates," he added.