Reliance Industries today reported its highest quarterly net profit in over eight years as fall in oil prices boosted refining and petrochem margins, helping the company post a 16 per cent jump in earnings for the three-month period ended March 31.
Consolidated net profit in January-March at Rs 7,398 crore or Rs 25.1 a share was 15.9 per cent higher than Rs 6,381 crore or Rs 21.7 per share profit a year ago.
Standalone net profit was 17.25 per cent higher at Rs 7,320 crore.
This is the highest quarterly net profit for RIL since it clocked Rs 8,079 crore net profit in the third quarter of 2007-08.
RIL, operator of the world’s biggest oil-refinery complex, earned USD 10.8 for turning every barrel of crude oil into fuel in the fourth quarter of 2015-16 compared with a gross refining margin of USD 10.1 per barrel a year ago. The GRM outperformed Singapore benchmark by USD 3.1 a barrel.
Sales, however, dropped 12 per cent to Rs 64,569 crore in January-March.
The company posted a record annual net profit at Rs 27,630 crore or Rs 93.1 per share in 2015-16, up 17.2 per cent over Rs 23,566 crore, or Rs 80.1 a share.
Turnover was, however, down 23.8 per cent to Rs 2,96,091 crore on lower oil prices.
RIL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani said the much-talked about 4G telecom and high-speed broadband services will be launched this year. But he did not give a specific date.
“The commercial roll-out of Jio services this year will digitally enable a billion Indians and propel growth for India and Reliance,” he said.
The refining segment of oil-to-telecom conglomerate recorded the highest ever quarterly pre-tax profit (EBIT) of Rs 6,394 crore, up 30.4 per year-on-year. Petrochemical EBIT was up 35.4 per cent at Rs 2,713 crore.
The two helped offset 84.4 per cent drop in EBIT from oil and gas business at Rs 14 crore. “The segment profitability was impacted by lower oil and gas price realisations and decrease in domestic upstream volume. US shale operations were impacted by low commodity prices despite marginally higher volumes,” RIL said.
Debt rose to Rs 1,81,079 crore from Rs 1,78,07 crore as on December 31. Cash balance also rose to Rs 86,033 crore as on March 31 as compared to Rs 91,736 crore as on December 31.
Interest cost at Rs 813 crore in the fourth quarter was higher than Rs 677 crore in corresponding period of the previous year due to higher average exchange rates.
“FY 2015-16 has been a year of outstanding achievement for our downstream hydrocarbon businesses, notwithstanding persisting global economic uncertainty.
“Refining and petrochemicals delivered record operating and financial performances. Our refineries sustained double-digit GRMs and record levels of utilization through the year,” Ambani said.
Balanced petrochemical portfolio, across products and feedstocks, helped capture the benefit of vastly improved naphtha cracking economics and favourable polymer markets.
Reliance Retail continued its path of profitable expansion while maintaining a robust revenue growth of 23 per cent during the year.
“Looking ahead, we are focused on ensuring a flawless startup and stabilization of the new growth platforms across our hydrocarbon and consumer businesses.
RIL shares fell 0.2 per cent to Rs 1,038.95 at the close in BSE before the earnings were announced.