Mumbai: Reliance Industries Ltd’s quarterly net profit crossed the 10,000-crore mark in the three months through December, a first for any Indian private sector company. The company posted a 7.7% quarter-on-quarter rise in consolidated net profit to 10,251 crore as its petrochemicals and consumer businesses offset challenges in refining operations during the last concluded quarter.

Refining, which has a 26% share in the company’s revenues, slumped as gross margins came at a 15-quarter low of $8.8 per barrel, down from $9.5 in the September quarter. Gross refining margin is the profit earned on each barrel of crude processed. RIL outperformed the benchmark Singapore complex margin by $4.5 per barrel. The benchmark GRMs have come down to multi-year lows in the third quarter to below $2 per barrel, as crude prices slumped to $50 a barrel from $85 a year ago.

Consolidated revenues came in at 1,71,336 crore, a growth of 9.6% from the immediate previous quarter. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization came in at 23,801 crore, up 6.4%.

“The growth in operating profit was led by strong operating performance in petrochemicals, retail and digital services businesses. Significant volume growth and margin improvement in key product categories boosted petrochemicals segment earnings," the company said in a release. RIL Chief Financial Officer Alok Agarwal termed the quarter as a “tough" one for the company’s refining business.

REFINING: The company’s refining business clocked revenues of 1.117 trillion in the December quarter, rising 13.1% from the September quarter but the segment’s earnings before interest and taxes fell as GRMs took a hit. EBIT fell 5% from the immediate previous quarter to 5,055 crore. Agarwal said the company managed the operations by changing the crude mix and sourcing more crude from the US. EBIT margin in the business fell to 4.5% from 5.4%. The refining business comprises production and marketing of petroleum products.

PETROCHEMICALS: The business, contributing 82% to the group’s topline, saw its revenues rise 5.7% from July-September to 46,246 crore during the last concluded quarter. Its EBIT margin rose 70 basis points to 17.8%. The company release credited strong volume growth and robust polyester chain margins in offsetting the impact of weaker polymer margins.

RELIANCE JIO: The company’ telecom arm churned out a net profit of 831 crore in October-December quarter, up 22.1% quarter-on-quarter. RIL’s consumer business, which includes telecom and retail operations, has now begun to contribute more than a quarter to the company’s business.

The company added over 28 million subscribers in the quarter gone by to cross the 280-million mark at the end of the last calendar year.

The company’s gross revenues came in at 12,252 crore, rising 12.4% from the immediate previous quarter. Earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortization came in at 4,053 crore, rising 13.4%. EBITDA margin improved 30 basis points to 39%.

Average revenue per user, a key metric to judge the profitability of a telecom services provider, fell 2 to 130.

According to comments by RIL Chief Financial Officer Alok Agarwal on a Youtube channel, both voice and data traffic on the company’s 4G network continued to hold strong. Users consumed 8.6 billion GB of data against 7.7 billion GB in the September quarter, each consumer using 10.8 GB of data every month while talking for 794 minutes in the same 30-day period.

RELIANCE RETAIL: Quarterly revenues of the business crossed the 35,000-crore mark, a first for this business too. They rose 10% quarter-on-quarter to touch 35,577 crore in three months through December. The double-digit growth came on the back of new store openings and the company’s push for higher margins.

The company added 780 stores during the quarter, translating into more than eight store openings daily. This meant an addition of 1.1 million square feet of space. As a result, footfalls at the company’s 26.6 million square feet of space came in at 139 million during the quarter.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization improved 20% from the immediate previous quarter to 1,680 crore. EBITDA margin improved 40 basis points to 4.7%.

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