Windfall tax hits RIL, Q2 net profit flat at `13,656 crore

New Delhi: Billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Ltd on Friday posted flat growth in net profit in the September quarter after a newly introduced windfall profit tax and lower refining margins dented earnings in the mainstay oil business.

The oil-to-retail-to-telecom conglomerate's consolidated net profit at Rs 13,656 crore in July-September was almost unchanged from Rs 13,680 crore net earnings in the same period last year, according to a company statement. Sequentially, net profit fell 24 per cent from Rs 17,955 crore in April-June.

This is primarily because the firm's mainstay oil-to-chemicals (O2C) business earnings were hit by a new tax that the government imposed on the export of diesel, petrol and ATF from July 1.

The government slapped a tax on the export of fuel as well as crude oil produced domestically to take away gain accruing from the spurt in global energy prices following the war in Ukraine.

The day was saved by a record rise in consumer-facing telecom and retail businesses as well as earnings from natural gas production. But for the windfall profit tax, the net profit would have been 20 per cent higher.

The windfall profit tax cost the company Rs 4,039 crore in the quarter, lowering pre-tax earnings from the O2C business by almost 6 per cent to Rs 11,968 crore.

The O2C earnings also fell because of lower refining margins and the company's oil refinery taking a planned maintenance shutdown during the quarter, lowering the output. This was offset by a 27 per cent jump in the net profit of its digital arm Jio Platforms to Rs 4,729 crore and a 51 per jump in pre-tax earnings from the retail business of Rs 4,404 crore. The firm's revenues from oil and gas production rose 3x to Rs 3,171 crore.

This is the first quarterly dip in profit that the company has reported since January-March. Consolidated EBITDA came in at Rs 38,702 crore, without including the impact of a windfall tax, and at Rs 34,663 crore after accounting for the new levy.

Revenue increased 32.4 per cent to Rs 253,497 crore. EBITDA was up 14.5 per cent year-on-year. Commenting on the results, Mukesh D Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries Limited, said the quarter saw record performance in the company's consumer businesses, which continue to scale new milestones every quarter.

"We saw consistent net subscriber additions and higher engagement in the digital services segment," he said. "Jio has announced a beta trial for its industry-leading standalone 5G services and is making rapid progress for an ambitious and the fastest ever roll out of True 5G on a pan-India basis."

The retail business delivered record performance with a strong revival in footfalls, store additions and digital integration, he noted.

"Performance of our O2C business reflects subdued demand and weak margin environment across downstream chemical products. Transportation fuel margins were better than last year but significantly lower sequentially," he said.

"Segment performance was also impacted by the introduction of special additional excise duties (windfall profit tax) during the quarter to ensure stable supply and lower volatility in the domestic market."

Reliance Jio Infocomm, the nation's largest telecom operator by subscribers, saw continued to see an uptick in per-user revenue - Rs 177.2 per subscriber per month in Q2 from Rs 175.7 per user per month in the previous month. The firm had a 42.76 crore subscriber base. Retail continued to witness recovery.

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