Reliance Industries Ltd on Thursday became the first Indian private sector company to report a quarterly profit of more than Rs 10,000 crore after record earnings from petrochemical, retail and telecom business offset a dip in refinery margins.
The oil-to-telecom conglomerate reported an 8.8 per cent rise in its consolidated net profit to Rs 10,251 crore, or Rs 17.3 per share, in the third quarter ended December 31, 2018, as compared to Rs 9,420 crore, or Rs 16 a share, in the same period of the previous financial year, the company said in a statement.
This is the highest quarterly profit by any private company.
State-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) holds the distinction of posting highest ever quarterly profit by any Indian firm when it had reported a net profit of Rs 14,512.81 crore in January-March 2013.
IOC net profit in the fourth quarter of 2012-13 fiscal was abnormally high because of receipt of fuel subsidy for the full year in one quarter.
Its annual profit that fiscal was Rs 5,005.17 crore as it had posted losses in the previous quarter on failing to get fuel subsidy support.
Reliance Industries saw its revenue jump by 56 per cent to Rs 171,336 crore in October-December 2018.
The company opened more retail stores and added almost 28 million new subscribers to its Jio mobile phone service that helped increase the profitability of the venture as its traditional oil refining business witnessed margin pressures on falling international oil prices.
"In our endeavour to consistently create more value for our country and stakeholders, our company has become the first Indian private sector corporate to cross Rs 10,000 crore quarterly profits milestone," RIL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani said.
In an oil price environment that witnessed heightened volatility throughout the quarter, the company delivered strong quarterly results on a consolidated basis. "Competitive cost positions and integration benefits are core to our oil to chemicals (refining and petrochemicals) business, driving sustained performance even in challenging global business environment," he said.
The company, he said, maintained robust growth momentum across retail and Jio platforms and "the share of consumer businesses is steadily increasing its contribution to the overall profitability of the company".
Its retail business, which comprises of 9,907 stores across 6,400-plus towns and cities, saw pre-tax business profit jump 210 per cent to Rs 1,512 crore on the back of healthy festive season sales and new store openings.
Reliance Jio, the group's telecom arm, posted a standalone net profit of Rs 831 crore, which was 65 per cent more than the previous year, as subscriber base swelled to 280.1 million from 252.3 million at the end of September quarter.
Earning per subscriber marginally moderated to Rs 130 per month from Rs 131.7 previously.
The petrochemical business saw pre-tax profits jump by 43 per cent to Rs 8,221 crore on producing higher volumes of polymer products and fibre intermediates.
The operator of world's largest oil refining complex saw pre-tax earnings from the business decline for the third quarter in a row. Pre-tax earnings fell 18 per cent to Rs 5,055 crore as margins dipped.
It earned USD 8.8 on turning every barrel of crude oil into fuel as compared to a gross refining margin of USD 11.6 per barrel in October-December 2017. The GRM was also lower than USD 9.5 per barrel earning in the second quarter.
This is attributed to "sharp decline in light distillate product cracks".
The pre-tax loss of oil and gas business narrowed to Rs 185 crore in Q3 from Rs 480 crore in Q2 and Rs 291 crore in third quarter of 2017-18 due to the continued decline in production.
With it has completed major investment cycle, Reliance said its outstanding debt rose to Rs 2,74,381 crore as on December 31, 2018, as compared to Rs 2,58,701 crore on September 30 and Rs 2,18,763 crore on March 31.
Cash in hand was marginally rose to Rs 77,933 crore from Rs 76,740 crore in the previous quarter.
Reliance said standalone revenue of Jio was up 12.4 per cent at Rs 10,383 crore while petrochemical production was at highest ever of 9.7 million tonnes.
Retail business revenues surged 89 per cent to Rs 35,577 crore.
Reliance said Q3 FY2018-19 saw robust consumer activity at Reliance Jio with average monthly consumption of 10.8 GB data and 794 minutes of voice per user.
During the quarter total wireless data traffic was 864 crore GB and total voice traffic was 63,406 crore minutes.