MUMBAI: Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries exceeded estimates Monday to post a 12.8 percent rise in its fourth-quarter net profit, boosted by higher margins from its core business of oil refining.
The Mumbai-based firm owned by India’s wealthiest man, Mukesh Ambani, said standalone net profit for the three months through March 31 rose to 81.51 billion rupees ($1.26 billion) from 72.27 billion rupees a year earlier.
The figures surpassed projections from 16 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, who predicted around 80.15 billion rupees.
“Operating profit was led by robust performance from petrochemicals business and sustained strength in refining business,” Ambani said in a statement.
“This was partially offset by losses in oil and gas business due to lower volumes and weak domestic price environment.”
Reliance said its gross refining margin—the profit earned from each barrel of crude—was up to $11.5 in the March quarter, an upward swing compared to previous quarters.
Refining margins are a key profitability gauge for Reliance, one of the world’s largest refiners.
Reliance launched its 4G telecom services ‘Jio’ in September 2016 offering free service for the rest of the year, followed by vastly cheaper data plans and free voice calls for life.
The audacious offer left rivals scrambling to compete, and caused a rush towards consolidation in the multi-billion dollar Indian telco sector.
Jio announced recently it had signed up 72 million new subscribers.
“In digital services, the Jio movement is set to transform India. Jio is witnessing the largest migration from free to paid services in history,” Ambani added.