Double Blow

August 18 (LBO) – Mysterious grenade attacks and pricing problems have pushed down sales of the Sri Lankan subsidiary of Indian Oil Corporation, with the firm also eyeing a price hike in September to arrest losses.

The fuel retailer found hand grenades in two of its fuel sheds in the heart of Colombo on Thursday, with the police called in to defuse them before they exploded.

The find follows grenade explosions in two other LIOC dealer sheds about ten days ago, leaving a few people with small injuries and minor damage to property.

The police are investigating the incidents, though there have been no arrests as yet. We have asked our dealers to be vigilant and there is security at the sheds at night, K Ramakrishnan, Managing Director of LIOC, told LBO on Wednesday.

The company also has a bigger pricing battle on its hands with state run oil giant Ceylon Petroleum Corporation that has seen volumes fall by about 50 percent.

Both fuel retailers were allowed to set their own pricing from August based on an amended pricing formula, with the Treasury refusing to subsidise further sales.

Lanka IOC raised prices by five rupees in early August to keep pace with soaring crude prices and C