RIL loses most profitable tag again, this time to IOC

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Mumbai: Within two quarters of losing its 23-year-old reign as the country’s most profitable company to TCS in the December quarter, Reliance Industries was again humbled in the June quarter, this time by Indian Oil.

The state-run firm booked Rs 118 crore more profit than the Mukesh Ambani-run firm net income of Rs 6,318 crore.

Better refining margins arising from lower oil prices and almost full payback of subsidies by the government helped the nation’s biggest oil company Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to report a massive more than twofold jump in the June quarter net profit at Rs 6,436 crore.

IOC’s refining margins soared to a seven-year high during the reporting quarter.

For Reliance, losing the numero uno slot comes within two quarter as in the December 2014 earnings season as well it had lost out to TCS as it booked more profit than RIL with a net income of Rs 5,328 crore.

The loss in the December 2014 quarter was the end of RIL’s 23-year run as the most profitable firm with a net profit in the country, overtaking the long-standing champion Reliance which saw its profit dip to Rs 5,256 crore as falling crude prices hurt its core business.

The third most profitable company in the June quarter was Tata Consultancy Services with net income at Rs 5,684 crore for the June quarter, up 2 percent y-o-y, while its revenue rose 16.1 percent to Rs 25,668 crore.

With this, IOC thus also becomes the first domestic company to sniff at the billion-dollar club in quarterly earnings based on the closing price of the rupee on the earnings day (65.10) while it was well in the club on the as the rupee had closed at 63.64 on June 30.

During the reporting quarter the crude prices on an average fell 43.5 percent for both the companies.

Even in the December 2014 quarter, IOC was very close to RIL with quarterly net profit of Rs 6,285 crore.

The loss of RIL is more pronounced as only last fiscal year (FY15) the company had overtaken the state-run oil and gas giant ONGC to become the most profitable company in the country both on an annual basis with a annual net income of Rs 23,566 crore, against the public sector company’s net profit of Rs 18,334 crore.

Till FY14, ONGC was the undisputed leader in the profitability rung when it had reported a whopping Rs 26,506.53 crore net income, while RIL had only Rs 22,493 crore.

FY15 was so bad that ONGC even slipped below TCS to the third slot as the Tata group software giant reported a net profit of Rs 19,852 crore in FY15.

What is surprising about the loss of RIL and gain of IOC is that both the companies have gained immensely from the sharply falling crude prices and the resultant jump in refining margins during reporting quarter.

While for June quarter, IOC’s revenue dropped 19.2 percent year-on-year to Rs 1.01 trillion due to fall in crude oil price, RIL revenue slumped more sharply by 26 percent to Rs 77,130 crore, hurt by a sharp fall in crude prices and petroleum products.

The June numbers are best for RIL in the past 7.5 years since the December 2007 quarter, for IOC it too was the best in the past seven years.

“Variation in profit is majorly due to higher refinery and petrochemical margins,” IOC chairman B Ashok said, adding the company earned USD 10.77 on turning every barrel of crude oil into fuel during the quarter compared with a gross refining margin of USD 2.25 per barrel.

IOC’s GRMs were the highest since June quarter of 2008-09 fiscal when we clocked USD 16.81 per barrel margin, while refinery throughput rose 5.5 percent higher at 13.568 million tonne.

Ashok also said the bottomline was boosted by a Rs 1,732.95 crore payback from the government towards subsidised kerosene and cooking gas.

Against this RIL’s, which is the operator of the world’s biggest oil-refinery complex, net grew 12 percent to a 7.5 year high on strong refining and petrochemical margins stood at a lower USD 10.4. This was the GRM the company has earned in the six years.

Meanwhile, ONGC is catching up to claw back its lost glory with a 14 percent in June earnings at Rs 5,460 crore on lower fuel subsidy and rise in oil output. Its revenue rose 4.3 percent to Rs 22,868 crore.

Oil production rose 2.2 percent to 5.227 mt tonne, according to ONGC chairman DK Sarraf, but gas output however dipped 3 percent to 5.482 billion cubic metres.

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Nagaraju Tadakaluri
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