• India’s Reliance profits soar 18%

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    MUMBAI: India’s Reliance Industries said Friday its quarterly net profits soared 18.1 percent, boosted by higher margins in its key refining business and a falling rupee.

    The Mumbai-based firm owned by Mukesh Ambani, India’s wealthiest man, said consolidated net profit for the three months through June climbed to 71.13 billion rupees (1.1) billion rupees from 60.24 billion rupees a year earlier.

    “Our petrochemicals business has a wide product portfolio… and serves high-growth end-markets in India. As a result, we achieved yet another quarter of margin expansion in petrochemicals business,” Reliance said in a statement.

    The company said the profit earned from each barrel of crude, or gross refining margin, was $11.50 in the just concluded quarter, up from $10.40 a year earlier.

    A lower rupee also helped profits. The Indian currency averaged 66.94 to the dollar in the quarter, compared with 63.49 in the same period a year earlier, according to Bloomberg News.

    “We maintained our earnings growth trajectory during this quarter, as the world grappled with new dimensions of economic uncertainty,” Ambani added in the statement.

    Reliance derives most of its earnings from its massive energy operations and is trying to diversify its business.

    It now owns a supermarket chain and a telecommunications company.

    It has already poured billions of dollars into its telecom venture, known as Reliance Jio Infocomm, to buy wireless spectrum and set up infrastructure.

    Reliance was due to offer 4G mobile services in India from the end of 2015 but the official launch has been postponed to August 2016.

    Experts believe the $15-billion Reliance Jio Infocomm’s launch will be a game-changer for the Ambani-led Reliance group.

    Reliance shares closed up six percent to 1,012.55 rupees on Friday, ahead of the earnings announcement. AFP

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