Reliance Industries Q2 profit rises 17.4% to Rs 95.16 bn; revenue up 54.5%

File photo of Mukesh Ambani
Reliance Industries (RIL) reported a 17.4 per cent rise in consolidated net profit for the September quarter (Q2), largely helped by a record financial performance in its petrochemicals business. Refining margins for the company took a hit, with gross refining margins slipping back to a single digit.

RIL’s consolidated net profit for the quarter stood at Rs 95.16 billion, 17.4 per cent up from Rs 81.09 billion in the same quarter last fiscal year. Consolidated revenue in the quarter stood at Rs 1.56 trillion, recording a 54.5 per cent rise from Rs 1.01 trillion in the same period last year.

“Our company delivered robust operating and financial results for the quarter despite macro headwinds, with strong growth in earnings on a year-on-year (YoY) basis. Our integrated refining and petrochemicals business generated strong cash flows in a period of heightened volatility in commodity and currency markets. Our petrochemicals assets contributed to record earnings," said Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director.

The company said: “Increase in revenue is primarily on account of higher price realisations of petrochemical and refinery products, led by 44.5 per cent increase in Brent crude price. The increased revenues also reflect higher volumes with the commissioning and ramping-up of new petrochemical facilities.” 

In a Bloomberg poll, seven analysts expected RIL to report consolidated revenue of Rs 1.40 trillion and 10 analysts expected net income to be Rs 96.29 billion. In the corresponding quarter last year, RIL has reported a net profit of Rs 81.09 billion. Reflecting the weakness in refining business, gross refining margin (GRM) fell to $9.5 per barrel, compared to $12per barrel in the same quarter a year ago. The company has reported a single-digit GRM for the first time since the December 2014 quarter.

On the Centre’s recent move to direct state-run oil marketing companies (OMCs) to cut petrol and diesel prices by Rs 1 per litre, the management said the decision will not impact its larger retail plan. “We will have to match market prices, but that does not alter our broader petro-retail expansion plan,” V Srikanth, joint financial officer for RIL, said. He added that given the company’s dependence on the retail market for sale of petroleum products was low, the overall effect would be minimal. On its petcoke gasification plan, expected to bring a $2.0-2.5 per barrel addition to GRMs, the firm said: “While gasification start-up and stabilisation was accomplished in record time, we are still in the process of synchronising the operation of these gasifiers at sustainable levels.”    

Segment wise, earnings before interest and taxation (Ebit) for petrochemicals was at a record level of Rs 81.2 billion. The oil and gas business continued to report weak performance with a segment loss of Rs 4.80 billion, impacted by lower volumes due to natural decline. The company said total capital expenditure for the telecom business in the quarter stood at Rs 160 billion, and that for retail business at Rs 10.90 billion. Outstanding debt as on September 30, 2018, was at Rs 2.58 trillion, compared to Rs 2.18 trillion as on March 31, 2018.

Reliance Retail reported a rise of 273 per cent in its earnings before interest and tax (Ebit) at Rs 12.4 billion for Q2. PBIT for the financial year's first half was Rs 23.1 billion, up 269.5 per cent over a year before. Revenue more than doubled for a fourth quarter in a row, to Rs 324.4 billion for the quarter. The Ebit margin came in at 3.8 per cent for the quarter, up from 2.3 per cent in the corresponding quarter last year. However, in the June quarter of FY19, the margin was 4.1 per cent. Alok Agarwal, chief financial officer, said this was due to seasonality factors.

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