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India's Reliance reports 6.8% rise in profits

By AFP
media Reliance has business interests in refining, retail, petrochemicals and telecommunications AFP/File

Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries on Friday reported a 6.8 percent rise in consolidated net profit despite a slowdown in its oil refining business.

The Mumbai-based company owned by Asia's richest man Mukesh Ambani said its consolidated net profit for the three months through June rose to 101.05 billion rupees ($1.47 billion) from 94.59 billion rupees reported for the same quarter a year earlier.

"Our first-quarter earnings were strong despite weak global macro-economic environment and challenging hydrocarbon market conditions," Ambani said in a statement.

He added that growth in the company's retail and telecoms operations helped boost overall revenues.

"Our digital services business continues to transform the mobility market in India while scaling newer milestones," he said.

The firm has business interests in refining, retail, petrochemicals and telecommunications.

Reliance said in a statement that its gross refining margin, the profit earned from each barrel of crude was down to $8.1 per barrel in the June quarter as compared to $10.5 per barrel for the same quarter last year.

Refining margins are a key profitability gauge for Reliance, one of the world's largest refiners.

The company was forced to cap its crude imports from sanction-hit Venezuela in March following pressure from the United States. It has also stopped exporting diluents to the crisis-hit South American country.

The company said that its telecom venture Jio signed up 24.5 million subscribers in the June quarter and reported a 45.6 percent rise in its profits to 8.91 billion rupees.

Ambani had launched Reliance Jio with much fanfare in September 2016 offering free services up to March 2017, sparking intense price wars which saw consolidation in the Indian telecom sector.

He is currently engaged in fierce competition with Amazon and Walmart in an ongoing race to dominate India's retail market.

Reliance shares fell over a percent Friday ahead of the earnings announcement, which came after the stock market closed.

 
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