RIL Q2 net profit up 12.5% to Rs 8109 cr

Surprisingly, Reliance Jio is already profitable at PAT level

Oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries today reported a 12.5 per cent jump in its September quarter net profit after refining margin soared to nine year high and mobile telephony venture earned operational profit.

Mukesh Ambani, chairman of the company, highlighted the fact that the digital business had reported a profit during the quarter.

"Reliance Jio. had a positive EBIT contribution in its first quarter of commercial operations", he added.

Standalone revenue for Reliance Jio stood at Rs 6,147.06 for FY18 Q2, according to a statement by Reliance Industries.

The company's debt swelled to Rs 2,14,145 crore at the end of September as compared to Rs 1,96,601 crore as on March 31, 2017.

Depreciation and amortisation expenses were at Rs 1,183.88 crore and selling and distribution costs at Rs 260.84 crore.

Mritunjay Kapur, partner, KPMG India, said with data "picking up momentum, we can expect higher growth in revenue in coming quarters".

Analysts said the strong profitability could lead to upgrades for the RIL stock, as the timeline for the breakeven of the telecom business would be advanced.

Net of GST, the company's revenue of 6,147 cr gives an ARPU (average revenue) of Rs 156.4 per subscriber per month, which is similar to what rivals like Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular post.

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"For Reliance Jio, the debut financial results show positive EBITDA as well as positive EBIT, beating all street expectations and we had subcribers base as on 30 September at 139 million subscribers", Aggarwal said. Thakur said most of Jio's users have subscribed to its Rs 399 plan and very few have taken up the Rs 149 plan. Ambani said the strong financial results of Jio demonstrated the robust business model of Jio and the significant efficiencies that the company has built through its investment.

The ripples Reliance Jio created in the telecom sector apparently came for a price. The call origination operator pays IUC to the operator on whose network the call terminates. The regulator had also said that IUC would be completely eliminated by 2020.

Low prices have helped Jio net 138.6 million users, consolidating its position as the fourth largest telco. Margin expanded by 190 basis points sequentially and 247 bps year-on-year to 17.7 % in the quarter gone by. "Also, our production was higher", said V Srikanth, joint chief financial officer.

RIL's consolidated revenue at Rs 91,481 crore was up 20.1 per cent year-on-year, ahead of Bloomberg consensus estimates of Rs 90,086 crore. Other expenses were Rs 2,305.7 million.

There was some disappointment on the refining front.

Gross Refining Margin (GRM) for the quarter stood at $ 12.0 per barrel.

Last quarter, the company outperformed Singapore's benchmark GRM by around US$5 per barrel.

Profit on a standalone basis, which includes refining, petrochemicals and oil and gas exploration businesses, rose to ₹82.65 billion ($1.27 billion) in the quarter ended September 30, its highest ever.

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