Indian refining and energy giant Reliance Industries announced its first profit rise in over a year on Friday as its performance was boosted by higher natural gas production.
Reliance, India's largest private sector company, said net profit rose 15.8 percent to 40.08 billion rupees (878 million dollars) in the fiscal third quarter to December from 34.62 billion rupees a year earlier.
It marked the company's first profit increase since October 2008 when earnings were hit by the global economic slowdown.
Income for the third quarter jumped 80 percent to 568.56 billion rupees, the company controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani said in a statement.
The profit was broadly in line with market expectations.
"Reliance is well poised to benefit from the improving global economic environment and domestic markets opportunities," said Ambani who is company chairman.
The company said the year-ago quarterly results had been restated to include earnings from subsidiary Reliance Petroleum, which was amalgamated with the parent last year.
After the earnings announcement, Reliance shares recovered to trade up 0.67 percent or 7.1 rupees at 1,060.9 after hitting an intraday low of 1,029.7.
Reliance's gross refining margins fell to 5.9 dollars a barrel in the quarter from 10 dollars a barrel in the same period a year earlier.
Reliance operates the world?s largest oil-processing complex in Jamnagar, western India, where two adjacent refineries have a combined capacity to process 1.24 million barrels of oil a day.
Gas production from the KG D6 field off the eastern Indian coast has ramped up to 60 million metric standard cubic meters a day in nine months from its start last April.
"This reaffirms our belief in our ability to create truly world class assets in the integrated energy value chain," Ambani said.
Reliance has generated two billion dollars through stock sales since last September and is expected to keep raising cash to boost its reserves and fund acquisitions.
Reliance has declined to comment on a media report earlier this month that said the company had sweetened its bid for LyondellBasell to 13.5 billion dollars from the 12 billion dollars initially put forward in November.
The Indian firm said local demand for most of its petrochemical products remained strong.
Exports of refined products grew 14 percent to 14.3 billion dollars in the quarter from a year earlier.
Reliance added it was still expanding its retail operations and that the company now had more than 950 stores in more than 85 cities in India.
The results announcement came as Reliance awaits a ruling by India?s Supreme Court in a lawsuit over the sale price for gas from the KG D6 field that has pitted Mukesh Ambani against his estranged brother Anil Ambani.
Source: AFP South Asian Edition