Mukesh Ambaniís company earnings soar 24%; share price zooms


Mukesh Ambani Ė Bloomberg News

New Delhi: Reliance Industries, India's biggest company by market value, headed for its highest close in 19 months after third-quarter profit increased the most in two years, beating analyst estimates. The shares climbed as much as 6.1 per cent to Rs955, the highest intraday price since June 13, 2011, and traded 4 per cent higher at Rs936.60 in Mumbai.

The stock has increased 12 per cent this year, compared to a 3.4 per cent gain in the benchmark Sensitive Index. Reliance, controlled by Mukesh Ambani, reported a 24 per cent increase in quarterly profit to Rs55 billion ($1 billion) after earnings climbed from turning crude oil into gasoline and diesel, according to a January 18 filing.

Earnings beat estimate
Profit beat the Rs50.1 billion median estimate of 25 analysts in a survey. Sales at the Mumbai-based explorer and refiner rose 10 per cent to Rs938.9 billion. "The guidance for Reliance is positive as demand picks up with economies including China recovering," said Niraj Mansingka, a Mumbai-based analyst with Edelweiss Securities, who has a buy rating on the shares.

Ambani, 55, is shifting focus back to processing crude as Reliance's output from India's largest natural gas block continues to wane. Economic recovery from the United States to China is expected to lift global demand for fuels that Reliance produces in the world's biggest refining complex in western Gujarat state and sells overseas.

The company earned $9.6 for every barrel of crude it processed in the quarter, compared to $6.8 a year earlier and $9.5 a barrel in the previous three months. Reliance, with cash and equivalents of Rs809.62 billion and Rs722.66 billion of debt outstanding as of December 31, plans to spend more than $2 billion on Venezuelan oil programmes.

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