Everest Kanto Cylinder Ltd (EKC), a leading player in the production of high-pressure gas cylinders, has announced a 45% rise in consolidated net profit at Rs104.27 crore for the financial year ended 31st March 2008 compared to Rs71.73 crore in the corresponding period last year.

In a year of change and business development, net sales grew by 25% to Rs528.74 crore compared to Rs425.05 crore for the year ended 31st March 2007, while the company also witnessed significant improvement in margins with net profit margin rising from 16.88% to 19.72%. The earning per share (full diluted) as of 31st March 2008 stood at Rs10.54.

In terms of business expansion and development, the company has been carefully investing money in different projects and also announced the acquisition of US-based company CP Industries Holdings Inc. in recent months.

Prem Khurana, EKC Chairman and Managing Director, commented on the company’s performance and said, “The rising concerns on oil security and pollution by vehicle emissions continue to drive the demand for our CNG cylinder. With the company establishing supply approvals from over 16 countries, it is best-placed to tap the growing market opportunity.”

EKC’s wholly owned subsidiary in China successfully completed the trial production phase and has commenced its commercial production. It will have an initial capacity of 200,000 cylinders and plans to ramp up its capacity to one million cylinders in the next 3-4 years. The investment in the first phase of its operation is expected to be around $50m.

During the year, EKC’s wholly owned subsidiary in the UAE, EKC International FZE, Dubai, has formed a wholly owned subsidiary in Hungary by the name of EKC Hungary Ltd. Furthermore, EKC Hungary Ltd. acquired the aforementioned CP Industries Holdings for $66.30m and together EKC Hungary Ltd and CP Industries Holdings Inc. have acquired all the assets of CP Industries Inc.