Bengaluru: Reliance Industries Ltd, India’s largest listed company by market value, said on Friday that its $30 billion telecom start-up Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd has turned profitable less than a year and a half since its launch. Reliance Jio swung to a profit of Rs504 crore ($78.97 million) in the third quarter from a loss of Rs271 crore in the second quarter.

Reliance Jio, launched late in 2016, sparked a price war in India’s cut-throat telecoms sector, driving down margins and forcing consolidation. Idea Cellular Ltd and Vodafone India Ltd, two of the top three telecom companies in India, have agreed to merge. Bharti Airtel, India’s biggest telecom service provider, has reported falling profits for six straight quarters.

Reliance Industries Ltd’s (RIL’s) profit on a standalone basis, which includes the company’s refining, petrochemicals and oil and gas exploration businesses, but primarily excludes retail and telecom operations, stood at Rs8,454 crore in the quarter ended 31 December, up from Rs8,022 crore a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected a standalone profit of Rs8,394 crore, Thomson Reuters Eikon data showed.

Gross refining margin, the profit earned on each barrel of crude processed, was $11.6 per barrel for the quarter, outperforming the benchmark Singapore complex margins by $4.4 per barrel.

On a consolidated basis, which also includes Reliance Industries’s US shale gas, retail, telecom and other operations, profit came in at Rs9,423 crore, the company said in a statement on Friday.

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