Reliance Industries' December quarter net profit dipped by 4.5 per cent to Rs 5,256 crore, its first profit decline in nine quarters, after a steep fall in crude oil prices hurt core refining business and margins.
Net profit in October-December 2013 quarter stood at Rs 5,502 crore, or Rs 18.7 a share while profit was Rs 5,972 crore, or Rs 20.3 per share, in June-September 2014 quarter.
RIL, the operator of world's biggest oil-refinery complex, earned USD 7.3 for turning every barrel of crude oil into fuel in third quarter as compared to USD 7.6 a barrel gross refining margin (GRM) a year ago. The GRM in December 2014 quarter was also lower than USD 8.3 per barrel in the previous July-September quarter.
"The quarter witnessed heightened volatility across the hydrocarbon business. Benchmark crude oil prices declined by around 40 per cent through the quarter, with consequent impact on petrochemical feedstock and product prices," the company on Friday said in a statement.
Declining feedstock prices impacted buying sentiment across product categories, it said.
Commenting on the results, Mukesh D Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, RIL said: "Our focus on operational efficiency and the superior configuration of assets helped us deliver an industry-leading performance in the refining and petrochemicals business despite sharp decline in crude and feedstock prices."
RIL, he said, continued to advance margin adding refining and petrochemicals business capital investments, which will come to fruition over the next 4-6 quarters.
"These investments demonstrate our commitment to creating value through the business cycle," he said.
Turnover dipped 20.4 per cent to Rs 96,330 crore in the December 2014 quarter. Exports also declined by 21.5 per cent to Rs 58,507 crore.
While debt rose to Rs 150,007 crore from Rs 142,084 crore as on September 30, 2014, cash-in-hand fell to Rs 78,691 crore as on December 31 from Rs 83,456 crore at the end of previous first quarter.
Reliance Retail today posted 18.9 per cent increase in revenues at Rs 4,686 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, on account of improved margins and profitability.
The company, a part of Reliance Industries Ltd, had a turnover of Rs 3,941 crore during the same period of last fiscal.
It reported a turnover of Rs 12,852 crore for the first nine months of the current financial year, a growth of 17.9 per cent compared with Rs 10,903 crore in the corresponding period last year.
"During the quarter, Reliance Retail registered Y-o-Y growth of 19 per cent in turnover with improved margins and profitability," Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director, Mukesh Ambani said in the statement announcing the results.
Reliance Retail posted its highest ever profit before depreciation, interest and taxes (PBDIT) in the October- December quarter at Rs 227 crore, an increase of 114 per cent on a year-on-years basis.
According to the company: "The value formats added 15 new Reliance Fresh stores to its network in the quarter and further consolidated its position as the largest grocery retailer in the country."
During the quarter, Reliance Trends crossed the milestone of operating stores in over 100 cities thereby extending its reach to fashion seeking customers.
"Reliance Retail grew its presence through its partnerships during this period. Its partnerships with Marks and Spencer and Grand Vision continued expansion and witnessed strong sales growth from existing stores," the company said.
Reliance Retail had 2,285 stores in India as on December 31.