Covid-19 breaths life into BOC Kenya earnings

Covid-19 breaths life into BOC Kenya earnings

BOC gas filling plant in Industrial area. Photo/File The Covid-19 pandemic was a blessing in disguise for industrial and medical gases firm processor-BOC Kenya which has reported an 81.9 per cent jump in profit for 2020.

The listed company’s net profit for the year ended December 31 almost doubled to Sh101.7 million from the Sh55.9 million reported the previous year, as the firm cashed in on sale of medical gas.

This, even as earnings from industrial gas remained subdued due to a slow down in industrial activities in the wake of the pandemic.

In the first half of the year, the financial results were subdued primarily because of the economic environment after Covid-19 containment measures were effected by government, the firm notes in its financial statement.

Performance improved progressively in the second half of the year after the measures were eased.

“The upside in results for the full year was primarily from medical gases, a revenue stream that has shown consistent growth over many years due to increased investment in both public and private sector health care facilities,” the firm says in the Group audited results announced through the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), yesterday.

In 2021, BOC Kenya expects that demand for oxygen will follow Covid-19 infection rates and hospitalisation trend, it said.

The company will therefore be seeking to ensure adequate supplies of oxygen for its healthcare customers despite the difficulty of predicting infection rate or demand for oxygen, management has said.

During the year under review, its revenues hit Sh1 billion up from Sh975 million the previous year, when it business was mainly driven by industrial gas.

Cash generated from operations grew 87 per cent to Sh76.7 million from Sh41 million in 2019, as sales from medical oxygen boosted its cash-flow.

It is anticipated it could it could take up to a year to close the gap between demand and supply for medical oxygen used to treat patients, with the Covid-19 pandemic yet to be fully contained amid the high number of cases being reported in the country.Whereas there was an increase in demand for medical oxygen and related infrastructure projects towards the end of the year, demand for industrial oxygen ( other industrial gases, equipment, and other products) were depressed by a generally difficult macro-economic environment, the company notes.Also, in supplementing local production of medical oxygen with imported product to meet increased customer demand, the company incurred higher costs of importation that it could not fully […]

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