Reliance, Wipro beat quarterly earnings estimates; HDFC Bank, ITC meets street forecast

Energy conglomerate Reliance Industries reported a nearly flat profit of 55.11 billion rupees for the December quarter but beat analyst estimates, helped by stable margins in its main refining business.

Reliance, which operates the world's biggest refining complex in western India, was expected to report a net profit of 53.4 billion rupees for the quarter, based on the mean earnings estimate of 14 analysts on Thomson Reuters Starmine data.

Average gross refining margin was $7.6 per barrel for the quarter, down from $9.6 a year earlier. Analysts had expected GRM to average $7.5 a barrel.

Last month, the government allowed Reliance to charge higher prices for gas from April after the company offered financial guarantees to settle any claims against it over shortfall in its gas output from its Krishna-Godavari basin's D6 block, off India's east coast.

Wipro Ltd, India's third-largest IT services exporter, reported a 27 per cent rise in quarterly net profit, topping estimates, bolstered by rising demand from overseas clients.

Wipro also forecast revenues from its main IT services business of $1.71 billion to $1.75 billion, or a growth of between of 2 and 4 per cent in the quarter ending March 31, matching analysts estimates.

The company's consolidated net profit from continuing operations for the three months ended December 31 rose to 20.15 billion rupeesfrom 15.9 billion rupees a year earlier, Wipro said in a statement on Friday.

That compares with the 19.95 billion rupee mean estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

HDFC Bank, India's third biggest lender by assets, posted yet another quarter of slowing quarterly profit on weaker loan growth and fee income.

HDFC Bank has been a sector outperformer posting consistent profit growth and stable asset quality in recent years, and is among the 'top picks' for most brokerages. Until the quarter-ended September, it had reported quarterly profit growth exceeding 30 per cent, for the last decade.

On Friday, the bank posted a 25 per cent increase in net profit to 23.26 billion rupees from 18.59 billion a year ago. Net interest income, the difference of interest earned and paid out, gained nearly 16 per cent to 46.35 billion rupees.

On average, analysts had expected the bank to post a net profit of 23 billion rupees, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Asset quality at the bank remained mostly stable during the quarter. Non-performing loans as a per centage of total assets were at 0.3 per cent, HDFC Bank said.

Earlier this week, smaller rivals Yes Bank and Axis Bank posted more than 19 per cent increase in December quarter net profit.

India's largest cigarette maker, ITC Ltd, posted a 16 per cent jump in quarterly net profit on Friday, in line with market expectations.

ITC, India's third most valuable company, said its net profit rose to 23.85 billion rupees for the quarter ended December 31, up from 20.5 billion rupees a year earlier.

Analysts had expected a 15 per cent rise in earnings to 23.6 billion rupees, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

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