Essar Oil UK, which recently started supplying branded fuel to dealers, has reported its highest ever profit in accounts just published.

For the year to the end of March, pre-tax profit was $244m compared with $70m the previous year.

Gross revenues for the 12 months were $4,992m, a 34% drop to the $7,615m reported in the previous year, primarily due to the lower crude oil price which fell 44% year-on-year average.

During the year the company’s Stanlow refinery in Cheshire processed 8.97 MMT of crude, a 5% increase on the previous year’s 8.54 MMT. Essar says it produces 16% of UK road transport fuels, including three billion litres of petrol, 4.4 billion litres of diesel and two billion litres of jet fuel per year.

During the year Essar Oil UK moved into downstream integration, with an entry into the UK fuel retail market. Seven sites are already operational, and the business has confirmed plans to grow its retail network within the UK market to 400 sites over the next three years.

Essar Oil UK Executive Chairman, Naresh Nayyar, commented: “This was a good year for the business, with the strong financial and operational performance reflecting the significant improvements made by Essar in optimising Stanlow since acquiring the refinery.

“The market was supportive and our reliability and flexibility ensured we could capture those opportunities. Looking forward, our ongoing margin improvement initiatives, major capex investment project and ambitious plans for downstream integration through the UK retail sector will deliver a truly sustainable and successful future for us.”