Reliance Industries (RIL) on Friday posted a net profit of R5,352 crore, an increase of 18.9% year-on-year, but the bottom line was boosted by higher other income, which rose 33%, and lower depreciation charges. Revenues for the first quarter of the fiscal at R87,645 crore were lower by 4.6% y-o-y, pressured by both lower volumes and lower prices.
RIL reported reasonably good gross refining margins (GRMs) of $8.40 per barrel for the three months to June 2013, slightly better than the Street’s estimates. RIL’s GRMs in the March quarter were $10.10 per barrel while in the first quarter a year earlier, they were $7.60.
The numbers were muted since revenues for the petrochemicals business were flat y-o-y at R21,950 crore while profits went up marginally. Moreover, production of gas at the KG-D6 Basin came in at just 15 million standard cubic metres per day.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) or operating profit went up to R7,075 crore, a rise of 3.9% y-o-y, driven by better margins in the refining and petrochemicals businesses. The lower output in the oil and gas division, however, offset some of those gains.
The RIL stock, which has gained 15% since June 26 after the government announced that the domestic price for gas would be $6.83, based on the Rangarajan formula, from April 2014, closed at R923.15 on Friday.
The management explained that the GRMs in the quarter, although at a premium of between $1.80-1.90 to the Singapore benchmark, were lower on a quarterly basis because of smaller diesel and petrol cracks during the quarter. Earnings before interest and tax (Ebit) for the refining business fell to R2,951 crore in the first quarter, lower 16.2% sequentially but up 38.5% y-o-y. RIL has been increasingly sourcing cheaper heavy crude from Venezuela.
The management is optimistic about the petrochemicals business, where it is expanding capacity. “We are investing heavily in the petchem business,” Alok Agarwal, CFO, told newspersons. Ebit margins for the segment stayed flat sequentially at 8.6%.
Ebit for the oil and gas business fell to Rs 352 crore from Rs 972 crore in the first quarter of the previous fiscal. The bulk of this earning has been contributed by the shale gas business, for which Ebitda grew 74% y-o-y to $165 million.
“The government has approved the capex for MA1 and D1D3 fields,” Agarwal said, adding that the maximum capex would take place in FY15 and FY16. The capex