NEW DELHI: Richest Indian Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Thursday posted the highest quarterly net profit by any Indian private sector firm with a 9.8 per cent rise in earnings in the period ended March 31 after robust business in retail and telecom sectors offset a dip in oil refinery margins.
The oil-to-telecom conglomerate reported a 9.8 per cent rise in its consolidated net profit at Rs 10,362 crore, or Rs 17.5 per share, in the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2019, as compared to Rs 9,438 crore, or Rs 15.9 a share, in the same period of the previous financial year, the company said in a statement.
This is the highest quarterly profit by any Indian private sector company.
State-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) holds the distinction of posting the highest ever quarterly profit by any Indian firm when it had reported a net profit of Rs 14,512.81 crore in January-March 2013 after it received the full-year fuel subsidy in just one quarter.
Reliance saw its revenue jump by 19.4 per cent to Rs 154,110 crore in January-March 2019, even though they were 9.7 per cent lower than Rs 170,709 crore revenue in the third quarter of the fiscal.
The company opened more retail stores and added 26.6 million new subscribers to its Jio mobile phone service that helped increase the profitability of the venture as its traditional oil refining business witnessed margin pressures on fluctuating international oil prices.
In full year 2018-19, the company posted a record Rs 39,588 crore net profit on a revenue of Rs 622,809 crore.
"During FY 2018-19, we achieved several milestones and made significant strides in building Reliance of the future. Reliance Retail crossed Rs 100,000 crore revenue milestone, Jio now serves over 300 million consumers and our petrochemicals business delivered its highest ever earnings," Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani said.
The record profit for the year came in a period of heightened volatility in the energy markets, he said, adding pre-tax profit has more than doubled in the last five years to Rs 92,656 crore.
"Focus on service and customer satisfaction led to higher numbers of subscribers and footfalls across our consumer businesses, driving robust revenue growth.
Our endeavour is to create better experiences for our customers, leading to a better-shared future," he added.
Its retail business, which comprises 10,415 stores with 510 being added in Q4, saw pre-tax business profit jump 77.1 per cent to record Rs 1,923 crore.
"Reliance Retail is the only Indian retailer to be in the top 100 global retailers list and the 6th fastest growing retailer globally as per Deloitte's Global Powers of Retailing 2019," the statement said.
Reliance Jio, the group's telecom arm, posted a standalone net profit of Rs 840 crore, which was 65 per cent more than the previous year, as subscriber base swelled to 306.7 million from 280.1 million at the end of the December quarter.
Earning per subscriber, however, declined to Rs 126.2 a month from Rs 130 in the previous quarter.
The petrochemical business saw pre-tax profits jump by 24 per cent to Rs 7,975 crore on higher prices.
The operator of the world's largest oil refining complex saw pre-tax earnings from the business decline for the fourth quarter in a row.
Pre-tax earnings fell 25.5 per cent to Rs 4,176 crore as margins dipped.
It earned USD 8.2 on turning every barrel of crude oil into fuel as compared to a gross refining margin (GRM) of USD 11 per barrel in January-March 2018.
The GRM was also lower than USD 8.8 and USD 9.5 per barrel earned in the second and third quarters respectively.
"Refinery and marketing segment performance was impacted by lower crude throughput due to planned maintenance," the statement said, adding they were also impacted by lower product differentials.
The pre-tax loss of oil and gas business narrowed to Rs 267 crore in Q4 from Rs 600 crore a year back as output continued to decline.
Having completed its major investment cycle, Reliance said its outstanding debt rose to Rs 2,87,505 crore as on March 31, 2019, from Rs 2,74,381 crore as on December 31 and Rs 2,18,763 crore on March 31, 2018.
Cash in hand rose to Rs 1,33,027 crore from Rs 77,933 crore in the previous quarter.
Retail business revenues surged 51.6 per cent to Rs 36,663 crore in Q4 and by 88.7 per cent to Rs 1,30,566 crore in 2018-19 fiscal.
Reliance said Q4 FY2018-19 saw robust consumer activity at Reliance Jio with average monthly revenue per user coming at Rs 126.2.
During the quarter, total wireless data traffic was 956 crore GB (up from 864 crore GB in the previous quarter) and total voice traffic was 72,414 crore minutes (up from 63,406 crore minutes in Q3).
The company said it has completed the demerger of tower and fibre assets business.