Reliance owner Anil Ambani (L) is in fierce competition with Amazon and Walmart for India's e-commerce market
Mumbai (AFP) - Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries on Friday reported an 18.3 percent rise in consolidated net profit due to a better-than-expected refining margin and growth in its consumer-facing business.
The Mumbai-based company owned by Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani said its consolidated net profit for the three months through September rose to 113 billion rupees ($1.59 billion) from 95 billion rupees reported for the same quarter a year earlier.
“The Company has reported record net profit for the quarter. These excellent results reflect benefits of our integrated Oil to Chemicals value chain and the rapid scale-up of our consumer businesses,” Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani said in a statement.
Reliance said its gross refining margin, the profit earned from each barrel of crude, was up at $9.4 in the September quarter from $8.1 in the previous quarter.
Refining margins are a key profitability gauge for the company, which operates the world’s biggest refining complex in Gujarat state.
The oil-to-telecoms giant said profits for its telecom arm Jio were up by 45.4 percent at 9.90 billion rupees for the quarter, with a total 355.2 million subscribers.
Ambani launched Reliance Jio with much fanfare in September 2016 offering free services up to March 2017, sparking intense price wars that saw consolidation in the Indian telecom sector.
“Jio today has the highest market share in terms of 4G subscriber base and 4G data traffic in India,” Ambani said.
Reliance resumed crude imports from crisis-hit Venezuela earlier this week, using diesel exports to pay for them under a barter system that complied with US sanctions.
It was forced to cap crude imports from the South American country in March following pressure from the United States.
Reliance became India’s first company to reach a market capitalisation of 9 trillion rupees ($127 billion) as the markets surged earlier Friday.
In September, Ambani launched a broadband service – JioFiber, offering a minimum internet speed of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) from 699 rupees ($9.80) per month.
Ambani is also currently engaged in fierce competition with Amazon and Walmart in an ongoing race to dominate India’s e-commerce market.
Shares of Reliance Industries were up 1.37 percent in Mumbai as the markets closed Friday ahead of the announcement.