Kerala, which nurses the country’s largest PSU portfolio consisting of 97 active enterprises, has logged Rs 3,855 crore in accumulated losses. This is despite the improved performance by as many as 44 profit-spinning state PSUs, according to a study by the State Bureau of Public Enterprises.
The heaviest loss burden is from public utilities such as Kerala State Road Transport Corporation, Kerala State Electricity Board, Kerala Water Authority and Supplyco (state’s grocery arm). They have contracted accumulated losses of Rs 1,770 crore, Rs 1,652 crore, Rs 589 crore and Rs 125 crore, respectively.
As many as 47 units are in the red. Out of the 97 enterprises, four are yet to submit their annual financial report, says the status report on the state public-sector enterprises tabled in the Kerala Assembly this week.
“Lacklustre performance by a few PSUs has been due to lack of critical capital infusion,” Kerala finance minister TM Thomas Isaac said, though he was non-committal on the support to public utilities. “Some PSUs have been hard-pressed to go for timely expansion or diversification and these have been given a leg up,” he added.
For instance, in the current fiscal `10 crore has been allotted to the Kochi-based Kerala Electrical and Allied Engineering (KEL) and the company plans to use it for developing motor for electric cars of future. “We have been in parleys with automobile manufacturers on this new line of business. The budgetary allocation would help ramp up the company’s business turnover to `600 crore by 2020,” according to Shaji Varghese, MD, KEL.
During the last fiscal, Dr Isaac had allotted Rs 12 crore in budgetary allocation to Kerala State Drugs and Pharmaceuticals (KSDP) in Alappuzha, which he projects as a future model in public-sector restructuring. Through diversification and a staggered plan of goals, including export of oncology drugs, KSDP is envisaged to make a turnaround in the current fiscal and post `500-crore revenue in five years.
Topmost in the profit-maker fold among PSUs are the state’s chit fund arm Kerala State Financial Enterprises (`262 crore net profit), Kerala State Beverages (`107 crore), Kerala State Industrial Development (`34 crore), Kerala Minerals and Metals (`28 crore) and Kerala Construction (`26 crore).
Vizhinjam Deep Sea Port, which the Adani Group is building in partnership with the Kerala government, has posted Rs 28-crore loss.
However, the port is yet to be operational and so the ‘loss’ tag is merely technical.