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Indian Oil Corp swings to Q1 profit on higher marketing margins

FILE PHOTO: Illustration showing Indian Oil Corp Ltd logo

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Indian Oil Corp Ltd (IOC) reported a first-quarter profit on Friday, as the country's top refiner benefited from higher fuel sales and marketing margins.

The state-owned company's net profit was 137.50 billion rupees ($1.67 billion) for the quarter ended June 30, compared with a loss of 19.93 billion rupees, a year earlier.

IOC said its domestic product sales rose 1.4% to 23.31 million metric tonnes (MMT), while exports fell 34.2% to 1.10 MMT.

Revenue from operations fell 12.2% to 2.21 trillion rupees.

The company said its gross refining margin, or profit from converting a barrel of oil into refined products, was $8.34 per barrel in the first quarter, compared with $31.81 per barrel a year earlier.

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Indian fuel retailers had sold fuel at a loss last year, but have recovered some of the losses during this quarter due to higher marketing margins, analysts said.

India's fuel demand slipped in June due to monsoon rains, after soaring in May when diesel sales scaled a record high on strong factory activity.

While companies have not revised up pump prices for months, a near 50% fall in crude prices from last year's highs has helped refiners, analysts said.

Fellow state-run refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp on Wednesday also swung to profit from a loss, a year ago, primarily due to higher marketing margins.

Indian refiners have also been buying cheaper Russian crude.

Indian Oil, along with its unit Chennai Petroleum, controls about a third of India's five million-barrels-per-day refining capacity.

($1 = 82.2501 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Sethuraman NR and Varun Vyas in Bengaluru; editing by Eileen Soreng)