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Hindustan Petroleum third-quarter profit dives 87 percent on higher expenses

(Reuters) - State-owned refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) on Tuesday posted an 87.3 percent slump in third-quarter profit, dented by higher expenses.

Net profit came in at 2.48 billion rupees ($34.65 million) compared with a profit of 19.50 billion rupees last year, the firm said.

Fifteen analysts on an average expected the oil company to post a loss of 666.5 million rupees, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

India's state-owned oil companies were forced to take a price cut in October which hurt their margins, as the government wanted to cushion the impact of high crude oil price on the public.

Total expenses surged 27.1 percent in the quarter. However, gross sale of products jumped 22.4 percent to 768.84 billion rupees.

($1 = 71.5725 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Krishna V Kurup in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)