Is the ‘silver lining’ in state-run industries real?

But for chemical units, performance continues to be dismal

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After a gap of about ten years, the industries segment, under the state public sector enterprises (SLPEs), has made a combined net profit of Rs106.91 crore in 2017-18 against a net loss of Rs80.69 crore for 2016-17 and about Rs135 crore loss for 2015-16.

Strange enough, of the nine sectors, only chemical sector has staged any meaningful performance during 2017-18 as it has contributed Rs240.5 crore to the combined net profit of the industries segment and could make good for the losses the other sectors have reported during the year.

All other sectors, barring development sector has piggybacked on the performance of chemical sector that improved its profitability by about six times during the period under review.

The 40-member team of industrial units has also registered a growth of 7.5 per cent in turnover to Rs2978.54 crore in 2017-18. The Department of Industries and Commerce, which is spread across nine sectors, also has under its fold, KINFRA, a statutory corporation and TEXFED, an apex body of textile companies under the cooperative sector.

However, the Kerala PSUs, whose count goes to more than 100 entities – the proverbial herd of ‘White Elephants’, continue to post combined losses year after year creating a mountain of accumulated losses with the unabated loss contributions from the public sector behemoths such as Kerala State Electricity Board Ltd (KSEBL), Kerala State Road Transportation Corporation (KSRTC), Kerala Water Authority (KWA), etc.

The good performance of the industries segment has been possible with the predominant support from some of the PSU units from Chemical sector, with the engineering sector and electric sector also contributing in a small way.

While 14 units registered profit during 2017-2018 (one more than 2016-17) to the extent of Rs303.74 crore – a huge jump from the previous year’s figure of Rs88.19 crore, with the backing of Rs2312.26 crore turnover, the majority of the units – 26 are still in the red with the loss aggregating Rs168.88 crore, but still less by about Rs28 crore compared with that of the previous year.

The Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd (KMML) continued as the single star performer from the bunch having posted a net profit of Rs195.78 crore, improving its own record by about five times. The Kerala State Textile Corporation Ltd (KSTCL) that reported a loss of Rs31.60 crore for 2017-18, reaffirmed its position as the worst performer this time too.






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