Energy conglomerate Reliance Industries on Friday reported nearly flat profit of Rs 5,511 crore for the December quarter from Rs 5,502 crore a year earlier, mainly helped by stable margins in its main refining business.
The markets expected profit to range between Rs 5,310 and Rs 5,350 crore. Earnings were also higher than the Rs 5,490 crore posted in the second quarter.Sales rose 10.5 per cent to Rs 106,383 crore.
Average gross refining margin (GRM) was $7.6 per barrel for the quarter, down from $9.6 a year earlier. Analysts had expected GRM to average $7.5 a barrel.
Last month, the government allowed Reliance to charge higher prices for gas from April after the company offered financial guarantees to settle any claims against it over shortfall in its gas output from its Krishna-Godavari basin’s D6 block, off India’s east coast.
While natural gas production at its main Krishna Godavari field continued to slump and refining margins dropped, the company’s income from other than its main operations rose 32 per cent to Rs 2,305 crore in October-December from Rs 1,740 crore a year earlier.
RIL, which operates two adjacent refineries at Jamnagar in Gujarat, said it earned $7.6 on turning every barrel of crude oil into fuel compared with a gross refining margin of $9.6 per barrel in Q3 of the previous fiscal.
The margins were better than the Singapore average even though earnings before interest and taxes from the refining business was down 13.1 per cent as it processed less crude oil due to a maintenance shutdown at one of the plants.
Debt soared to Rs 81,330 crore at the end of Q3 from Rs 72,427 crore at the beginning of the financial year. At quarter end, it had a cash pile of Rs 88,705 crore, making the company debt-free.
RIL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani said the company has commissioned a new polyester facility in Silvassa, the first among the $12 billion worth of projects it had undertaken to expand in the core business of petrochemicals and oil and gas.