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Reliance's December quarter profit rises 13 per cent to Rs 13,101 crore

Growth was aided by strong growth in its digital business

ril-pti (File) Representational image | Reuters

Reliance Industries reported 13 per cent growth in consolidated net profit in the October-December quarter, aided by strong growth in its digital business and a rebound in its traditional oil-to-chemicals business.

The net profit last quarter stood at Rs 13,101 crore, compared with a year ago profit of RE 11,640 crore.

The oil to retail conglomerate saw its third quarter revenue, however, decline 19 per cent to Rs 137,829 crore, from Rs 169,221 crore in the year ago quarter. It was up 7.4 per cent on a quarter-on-quarter basis.

The revenue was primarily impacted due to the retail business, which was suffered due to transfer of the fuel retail business to the RIL-BP joint venture and lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reliance Retail's revenue in the December quarter came in at Rs 33,018 crore, 10 per cent lower from the September quarter revenue of Rs 36,566 crore. Retail EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) was up 54 per cent to Rs 3,087 crore.

"COVID-related curbs on store operations eased during the quarter, enabling 96 per cent of stores to be opened, although only half of them were fully operational. Overall footfalls remained at similar levels to last quarter, but still lower than pre-COVID levels," said RIL.

The transfer out of fuel retailing business to RIL's joint venture with BP and the decision to convert Reliance Market stores to fulfillment centres to enable expansion of the new commerce business, also impacted retail revenue, RIL added.

In contrast, its digital vertical Jio Platforms saw its revenue rise five per cent sequentially to Rs 19,475 crore from Rs 18,496 crore and net profit grew 16 per cent to Rs 3,489 crore from Rs 3,020 crore.

The Jio operations got a twin boost, with net addition of 5.2 million customers to a total base of 410.8 million as of December 31, 2020 and ARPU (average revenue per user) rising to Rs 151 per month from Rs 145 in the trailing quarter.

In the oil-to-chemicals business, revenue rose 10 per cent over September quarter to Rs 83,838 crore and segment EBITDA was also up 10 per cent to Rs 9,756 crore.

Global oil demand, which was 1.5 million barrels per day, higher than sequential quarter and oil prices, supported by the supply-cut by countries led by Saudi Arabia, apart from improved product realisations across polymers, intermediates and polyester, aided the growth in the business.

Its oil and gas exploration and production business also turned in a 21 per cent quarterly rise in revenue at Rs 431 crore. On the other hand, media business revenue grew 34 per cent from the September quarter to Rs 1,422 crore.

Mukesh Ambani, the chairman and managing director of Reliance said the oil- to-chemicals business has reorganised its reporting segments to reflect the new strategy (focus on new energy and new materials business).

"The reorganised structure will facilitate holistic and agile decision making and enable us to pursue attractive new opportunities for growth, with strategic partnerships with the best and the biggest in this business globally," he said.

The oil-to-chemicals platform will create planet-friendly and affordable energy and materials solutions, he added.

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