An independent audit firm has not found any source of Tk2,280 crore in Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company's balance sheet although the company claimed that the amount was collected from its zone offices as customers' deposits as of June this year.
The audit firm named ACNABIN Chartered Accountants in its qualified opinion sent to Stock Exchanges said they did not get any record of this money in the zone offices.
Sources at Titas Gas said a customer has to pay a certain amount of money equivalent to three-month bills as a condition to get a new connection. The customers are supposed to get the amount back when they disconnect the line.
"The zone offices could not confirm such balances as their general ledgers were not updated," said the auditor.
When contacted, Md Babor Ali, director finance at Titas Gas, told The Business Standard that it might have happened that the schedule of all customers' security deposits has not been updated in the automation system.
"The issue will be solved if the schedule of all customers' security deposits is uploaded in the system," he said
Experts and critics, however, said the source of every single penny has to be ensured in the balance sheet of a public limited company. The amount in accounts without a source could be black money.
Professor Dr M Shamsul Alam, energy expert and energy adviser to the Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB), told the Business Standard, "The authorities have to find out from where and how this money came into the account and who are involved with the issue."
The auditor firm also said there is a gap of Tk1000 crore in the company's pension fund.
As of 30 June 2020, there should be Tk1092.60 crore in the pension fund for eligible employees of the company.
But as on the said date, the company's assets for the pension fund was only Tk92.00 crore, resulting in a shortfall in the Tk1,000 crore provision for the fund.
The actuary firm, AIR Consulting, therefore, recommended three options to recoup the deficit in five years from the date.
The options are - making an annual provision of Tk200 crore immediately and paying Tk16.92 crore per month or Tk300 crore and paying Tk 14.80 crore per month or Tk400 crore and paying Tk12.70 crore per month.
Titas Gas financials for FY21
Despite operational revenue growth in the fiscal 2020-21, the largest gas distribution company posted Tk346.22 crore in profit, down by 4% compared with the previous year.
The company's earnings per share stood at Tk3.5. In the previous year, the net profit was Tk359.81 crore and the EPS was Tk3.64.
As net profit decreased, it recommended a 22% cash dividend for shareholders although it had paid 26% in cash dividend in the previous year.
Talking about the lower profit, Md Babor Ali said a low bank interest rate has impacted the company's profit margin.
In FY21, profit on bank interests decreased by Tk172 crore, he added.
Meanwhile, the company's share price in the capital market fell by 4.22% on Tuesday owing to lower profits and dividends.
Out of six gas distribution companies, Titas Gas holds the largest position with 28.74 lakh customers in Dhaka and Mymensingh divisions.