Osaka Gas Co. said Friday its group net profit tumbled 20 percent from a year earlier in the April-September first half of fiscal 2002, following its gas rate cut in March.

The second-largest gas supplier in Japan, catering to customers mainly in Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe, garnered 8.78 billion yen in consolidated net profit, due also in part to a special loss from the disposal of an office building in Kobe in May.

The group’s per-share net profit came to 3.7 yen, down from 4.51 yen in the same period a year earlier, when it booked a 5.3 percent drop in net profit.

Operating revenues fell 6.7 percent to 409.32 billion yen, compared with a 9 percent increase a year before, as the March gas rate cut averaged 5.04 percent, the Osaka-based company said.

But the company posted a 1.6 percent gain in pretax profit to 19.07 billion yen, against a 9.6 percent decrease the year before, thanks to subsidiaries improving its financial status, a company official said.

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