Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) announced on Friday (July 19) that profits for the March-to-June quarter grew at 18.9 per cent, even as exports growth remained sluggish and turnover fell.
The bellwether refiner reported a net profit of Rs 5,352 crore against Rs 4,503 crore in the same period a year ago. Sales, however, dropped 4.6 per cent to Rs 90,589 crore.
RIL shares opened at Rs 917.05, reached a day's high of Rs 927.90 before closing at Rs 923.15. On the National Stock Exchange, the stock opened at Rs 919.05, reached the day's high of Rs 927.90, before closing at Rs 923.70.
Gross Refining Margins, a measure of the money refiners make by refining crude to finished products, was $8.4/bbl, RIL said in a release. RIL made $10.1/bbl in the previous quarter ending March 2013.
The last quarter has brought a few breathers for RIL chief Mukesh Ambani. Oil minister Veerappa Moily ruled out any significant revision in gas prices, despite reports of differences with the ministry of finance.
Things are expected to look better on the exploration front as well, since Niko Resources, RIL's Canada-based partner in the KG D6 basin exploration project, announced a significant gas discovery in the basin in mid-June. This is projected to push up total reserves significantly. In a separate development, Niko also announced that Indian gas prices were expected to move up to $10.45 in 2014/15, and up to $14/mmbtu by 2017/18. However, Anil Sharma and Ravi Adakia of Nomura have called the estimates 'optimistic' in their report.
Reliance's non-refining activities, however, also remain crucial, especially its two separate announcements related to telecom. Bharti Airtel has agreed to provide Reliance Jio Infocomm access to a high speed submarine data cable. This is expected to provide much needed bandwidth for Jio's 4G networks that are expected to provide very high data speeds.
Reliance Jio is also part of a consortium that will construct and maintain a proposed cable network which will provide "connectivity not only between South East Asia, South Asia and the Middle East, but also to Europe, Africa and Far East Asia through interconnections with other existing and newly built cable systems landing in India, the Middle East and the Far East Asia," says the release from the company.