(Reuters) - India’s Reliance Industries Ltd reported a record quarterly profit on Wednesday, driven by growth in its core petrochemicals business and helped by rising revenues at budding telecoms unit Jio.
The telecoms unit is central to the ambition of Chairman Mukesh Ambani - Asia’s richest man - to make Reliance’s consumer businesses as big as its energy operations, which currently contribute the bulk of group revenues and profits.
Jio marked a fourth straight quarter of profit in June-September, of 6.81 billion rupees ($93 million), compared with a loss in the same period last year.
Reliance, which in August became the first Indian company to reach a market value of 8 trillion rupees, said group consolidated profit rose more than 17 percent in June-September to 95.16 billion rupees.
That was just shy of a forecast 95.67 billion rupees by 11 analysts, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv.
The group’s businesses include refining, petrochemicals, retail and telecommunications. On Wednesday it said it would also invest in cable television and digital cable distribution companies to widen its sphere of business.
It will pay 20.45 billion rupees for primary investment in DEN Networks Ltd and 29.40 billion rupees for a stake in Hathway Cable and Datacom Ltd.
Reliance said its EBIT for petrochemicals rose nearly 64 percent in June-September, the second quarter of its financial year, from a year earlier to 81.20 billion rupees.
Its gross refining margin for the three months through September, or profit earned on each barrel of crude processed, was $9.5 per barrel, Reliance said in a statement.
($1 = 73.5200 Indian rupees)
Reporting by Tanvi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Susan Fenton