June 26, 2020 / 10:12 AM / 19 days ago

China Gas fuel sales growth slows as lockdown batters demand

SINGAPORE, June 26 (Reuters) - China Gas Holdings Ltd , one of China’s largest independent piped gas distributors,said on Friday gas sales in its latest financial year rose just 2.9%, a sharp fall from the previous year as the coronavirus pandemic hit fuel demand.

Total gas sales were 25.4 billion cubic metres in the year ended March 31, equivalent to roughly 8% of China’s total gas demand, but the rate of growth collapsed from a 32% surge in the year earlier period.

“Adversely impacted by COVID-19, negative growth for energy consumption kicked in for the first quarter of 2020 as energy demand derived from industrial, commercial and transportation sectors contracted noticeably,” the firm said its filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

The group, which earlier said total revenue rose by 0.3% to HK$59.54 billion ($7.68 billion), noted gas sales to households had grown by a quarter and it had added 5.4 million new residential users last year, an increase of 6.3%. Gas sales to industry rose 5.2%, while those to the commercial sector contracted 9%.

Sales to the fuel retail sector, including liquefied natural gas and compressed natural gas filling stations, fell 16% to 1 billion cubic metres, as transportation came to a near halt during coronavirus-related lockdowns.

Sales of liquefied petroleum gas, used for cooking and as petrochemical feedstock, dropped by an annual 4.2% to 3.83 million tonnes.

The company said it had completed construction of a gas transmission pipeline network with a total length of 402,381 km.

China Gas’ Hong Kong listed shares have fallen 6.8% so far this year, versus a 14% fall in the broader Heng Seng Index . ($1 = 7.7501 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Chen Aizhu; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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