Sinha says 'business as usual' for Gujarat Gas

Vol 17, PW 3 (05 Sep 13) Midstream & Downstream

Any worries Gujarat Gas will become another slow-moving state-owned monster can be laid to rest.

PETROWATCH learns new company chairman Varesh Sinha assured shareholders at the company’s AGM in Ahmedabad on August 22 that it would be run professionally and profitably following its acquisition from BG by GSPC. Sinha - who as chief secretary is Gujarat’s top bureaucrat - made this assurance during the Q&A session at the AGM held in the Ahmedabad Management Association hall, according to a company source.

Sinha promised there would be no state interference in Gujarat Gas promising that BG’s policies, processes and systems would not change. “Sinha sounded assuring and confident,” says a Gujarat Gas source.

“Frankly we expected the AGM to be stormy and were prepared for that. But this was the most perfect AGM I have witnessed.

” GSPC concluded the acquisition of BG’s 65.12% in Gujarat Gas for Rs2463.80cr ($367m) on June 12. Since then shareholders have fretted about falling gas sales, which between April and June this year dropped to just 503m cubic metres compared to 592m cubic metres over last year.

Also in doubt is if the firm will pay a final dividend. Gujarat Gas declared an interim dividend of just Rs7/share ($0.10) in November 2012 compared to Rs22/share ($0.33) in 2011.

Sinha gave no assurances about the dividend but promised to increase the CNG and piped gas sales to factories.

LNG Summit