LookAtVietnam – No one can give an exact answer to the question about the
business result of Petrolimex, the biggest petroleum product distributor now in
the Vietnamese market. And no one can understand why it is so difficult to
clarify if Petrolimex makes profit or takes loss.
The corporation repeatedly complains that it takes loss because it has to sell
petroleum products at the price levels lower than the cost prices. However, the
corporation announced big profit when releasing the prospectus that serves its
Even the officials of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) also give
different viewpoints about the business results of Petrolimex. In September
2011, Deputy Minister of MOIT Nguyen Cam Tu said at a conference that Petrolimex
took loss. Meanwhile, in November 2011, Minister of MOIT Vu Huy Hoang affirmed
that Petrolimex makes profit.
The story about Petrolimex’s business result always catches the special
attention from the public because Petrolimex many times reason the loss to raise
the retail prices of petroleum prices. However, the information about the loss
always raise doubts from the public.
Petrolimex makes profit – Deloitte found
Therefore, the news that Petrolimex has been found has making profit has not
surprised any one. The news was released by Minister of Finance Vuong Dinh Hue
before the National Assembly on November 25, who cited the auditing result of
The auditing firm came to the conclusion that Petrolimex made profits in 2008,
2009 and 2010. In 2008, the corporation made a profit of 642 billion dong from
petroleum product trading, and 376 billion dong from other business activities,
which meant the total profit of 1018 billion dong.
In 2009, the corporation made a profit of 2660 billion dong from petroleum
product trading and 557 billion dong from other activities, which meant the
total profit of 3217 billion dong. In 2010, it made a profit of 81 billion dong
in total: the loss of 172 billion dong from petroleum trade was offset by the
profit of 486 billion dong from other business activities.
In the first six months of 2011, Petrolimex incurred the loss of 1840 billion
dong from petroleum product trade.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance, after considering the business performance
of Petrolimex, said that if Petrolimex had not paid overly high commissions to
sales agents and if the dong/dollar exchange rate had not fluctuated so heavily,
Petrolimex would not incur big loss from petroleum trade.
Debate still continues
Though the auditing has clarified the business situation of Petrolimex, the
debate about the state owned general corporation still continues.
On the sideline of the National Assembly’s session, Minister of Industry and
Trade Vu Huy Hoang provided different information to the press. According to
Hoang, when going equitized, Petrolimex has to make public the figures about its
business result. It is true that Petrolimex made a profit in the three years of
2008-2010 in general, but it really took a loss in petroleum trade activities.
However, since Petrolimex did not give detailed explanation, people have
misunderstood that the enterprise has been making profit.
Hoang said that Petrolimex made a profit of 913 billion dong in 2008, 2880
billion dong in 2009, 81 billion dong in 2010, and it expects to make a profit
of 598 billion dong in 2011. The figures were cited from the prospectus of
However, the noteworthy thing is that the figures were valid until July 2011
only, or the time when the prospectus was released.
Meanwhile, in late September 2011, at a workshop on the petroleum trade
mechanism held by the Ministry of Finance in Hanoi, petrolimex’s managers
released the information completely contradictory to the one found in the
prospectus. Since 2006, Petrolimex has been taking loss hundreds of billions of
dong a year from petroleum product trading. Especially, in 2008, it incurred the
record loss of 10,700 billion dong. In 2011, it had incurred the loss of 2000
billion dong by the end of September.
Viet Le Quan