(Reuters) - Indian oil-to-retail conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd said on Friday its telecoms business Jio reported its second straight quarterly net profit since its launch nearly two years ago, as its cut-price plans continue to attract subscribers.
Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd triggered a fierce price war among operators as they slashed prices to rival Jio’s low-cost data plans, which has driven down margins and forced consolidation in India’s telecom industry.
Jio made a profit of 5.10 billion rupees ($76.43 million) in the quarter ended March 31, compared with a profit of 5.04 billion rupees in the previous quarter.
Profit on a standalone basis - which comprises Reliance’s refining, petrochemicals and oil and gas exploration businesses - rose 6.7 percent to a record 86.97 billion rupees in the quarter, slightly ahead of analysts’ estimate of 86.88 billion rupees, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Reliance, India’s second-biggest company by market value and controlled by the country’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, said its standalone revenue from operations rose about 17 percent to 872.27 billion rupees.
Gross refining margin, or profit earned on each barrel of crude processed, was $11 per barrel for the quarter, outperforming the benchmark Singapore complex margins by $4 per barrel. Reliance operates the world’s largest oil refinery in a single location in western India.
Profit on a consolidated basis, which also includes Reliance Industries’ U.S. shale gas, retail, telecom and other operations, came in at 94.35 billion rupees, its highest ever.
Its shares hit an all-time high ahead of the results, before closing 2.2 percent higher while the broader Indian market closed up 0.7 percent. The company has a market value of about $95 billion.
($1 = 66.7250 Indian rupees)
Reporting by Jessica Kuruthukulangara in Bengaluru. Editing by Jane Merriman