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Disasters, downturn, policies slash profits of central SOEs
Updated: 2009-03-02 20:10

Profits of China's State-owned enterprises (SOEs) under direct central control reached 665.29 billion yuan ($97.31 billion) in 2008, down more than 30 percent year-on-year, the government announced Monday.

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The decline reflected many factors including unusual domestic natural disasters, the global downturn and "policy-induced" losses, said the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), which oversees the 141 centrally-administered SOEs.

Profits would be roughly the same as that of 2007 if policy-induced losses of 266 billion yuan recorded by electricity and petroleum businesses were deducted, said the SASAC.

The agency estimated that natural disasters, including the worst snow storms in 50 years last winter and the Sichuan earthquake in May, caused 130 billion yuan in direct and indirect losses for SOEs.

The global crisis also dealt a huge blow to SOEs starting in the second half of last year, especially in the smelting, transport, chemical, power, vehicle and tourism sectors.

Refined oil products were sold at State-capped, below-cost prices last year even as international crude oil prices soared to a record of about $147 per barrel in July. The discrepancy caused 200 billion yuan of losses in refining operations for China's petroleum giants while major power grids and generators lost 66 billion yuan.

Profits of centrally-run SOEs rose from 240.55 billion yuan in 2002 to 996.85 billion yuan in 2007, up 150 billion yuan a year on average.

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