* Q4 net profit at 55.89 bln rupees vs 54.8 bln estimate
* Q4 refining margins at $10.1 dollar/barrel vs $7.6
* Oil and gas revenue down 38.8 pct in quarter vs
(Adds executive, analyst comment, details)
By Prashant Mehra
MUMBAI, April 16 Indian conglomerate Reliance
Industries Ltd posted a 32 percent rise in quarterly
profit on Tuesday, as higher margins at its core oil refining
business offset falling oil and gas revenues.
Reliance, which owns the world's biggest refining complex in
western India, reported an average gross oil refining margin of
$10.1 per barrel for the quarter compared with $7.6 in the same
period last year.
"We are seeing a stronger refining environment in Asia,"
Aloe Agarwal, chief financial officer, told reporters, adding
that exports of refined products to Asian countries were growing
faster than to Europe.
Revenue, however, fell 1.4 percent to 866 billion rupees, as
oil and gas revenue was down nearly 39 percent in the quarter.
For the full fiscal year, gas output at a key Krishna Godavari
(KG) basin offshore field fell 39 percent.
Falling output at the KG gas field off India's east coast
led to four consecutive declines in profit before the
The company and its partner, BP, said in February
they jointly plan to invest more than $5 billion over the next
three to five years to boost production at the D6 block in the
"Pressure on revenue will continue because of the fall in
gas production, which is the main worry," said R.K. Gupta,
managing director at Taurus Asset Management, which owns
The Indian government is expected to increase natural gas
prices by early 2014, which would help Reliance and BP justify
higher spending on the KG block.
Reliance said net profit in its fiscal fourth quarter which
ended on March 31 rose 32 percent from a year earlier to 55.89
billion rupees ($1.02 billion). Analysts had expected it to post
a profit of 54.8 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Reliance, controlled by India's richest man, Mukesh Ambani,
is widely expected to launch 4G telecom services later this year
after spending an initial $3 billion in 2010 including licences
for airwaves, making a big bet on a fiercely competitive market.
Its Reliance Jio Infocomm unit this month signed a fibre
optic network sharing deal with Reliance Communications
, controlled by Mukesh Ambani's brother Anil, that will
help it make a faster rollout of 4G services.
On Tuesday, the company said Reliance Jio has finalised
agreements with infrastructure providers and device makers,
among others, for its 4G venture, without naming the partners.
Reliance, which is India's third biggest company by market
value and had cash of 830 billion rupees at the end of March,
has been under pressure from investors over its slowing energy
business and its drive into consumer-focused sectors such as
telecoms and retail.
Its retail business reached cash-flow break-even during the
fiscal year. "Now the focus is on expanding the footprint and
turning profitable at net level," Agarwal said.
Shares in Reliance closed up 1.4 percent at 804.95 rupees
ahead of the results. The company, worth roughly $48 billion,
has seen its stock fall 4 percent so far in 2013, roughly in
line with a 3.5 percent drop in the main stock index.
($1 = 54.63 rupees)
(Reporting by Prashant Mehra; editing by Miral Fahmy and Elaine