Reliance Industries today posted its highest quarterly profit in more than two years as robust petrochemical margins and a surge in export earnings on a drop in rupee value offset weakness in the natural gas business.
Net profit rose 0.8 per cent to Rs 5,631 crore, or Rs 17.4 per share, in the January-March period from Rs 5,589 crore, or Rs 17.3 a share, in the same period a year ago.
Earnings from oil refining climbed 12.3 per cent, while those from the petrochemical segment were up 10.6 per cent, offsetting a 17.8 per cent dip in the oil and gas business, the company said in a statement.
RIL, which operates the world's biggest refining complex at Jamnagar in Gujarat, earned USD 9.3 on turning every barrel of crude oil into fuel in the quarter, compared with a gross refining margin of USD 10.1 a barrel a year earlier and USD 7.60 a barrel in the preceding three months.
Earnings got a boost as the rupee declined to Rs 61.8 against the US dollar in Q4 from Rs 54.2 a year earlier.
Sales rose 13 per cent to Rs 97,807 crore in Q4.
For the full financial year, the company reported a record net profit of Rs 21,984 crore, the highest by any private sector firm in the country. Net profit was 4.7 per cent higher than Rs 21,003 crore in 2012-13.
Turnover, too, was at a record high of Rs 401,302 crore, up 8.1 per cent from Rs 371,119 crore previously.
RIL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh D Ambani said, "FY 2013-14 was a satisfying year for RIL. Refining business delivered the highest ever profits with a sharp recovery in GRMs towards the end of the year. Petrochemical earnings grew sharply with margin expansion across polymers and downstream polyester products.
"While we continue to face technical challenges in growing domestic upstream production, the US shale gas business grew significantly during the year and has become a material contributor to our earnings."
RIL's retail business has turned around and is now India's largest retail chain, he said, adding the company has accelerated efforts to roll out state-of-the-art 4G services across the country.
RIL's debt soared to Rs 89,968 crore at the end of Q4, up from Rs 72,427 crore at the beginning of the financial year. At the end of March, it had a cash pile of Rs