Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries exceeded estimates yesterday to post a 12.8% rise in its fourth-quarter net profit, boosted by higher margins from its core business of oil refining.
The Mumbai-based firm owned by India’s wealthiest man, Mukesh Ambani, said standalone net profit for the three months through March 31 rose to Rs81.51bn ($1.26bn) from Rs72.27bn a year earlier.
The figures surpassed projections from 16 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, who predicted around Rs80.15bn.
“Operating profit was led by robust performance from petrochemicals business and sustained strength in refining business,” Ambani said in a statement. “This was partially offset by losses in oil and gas business due to lower volumes and weak domestic price environment.”
Reliance said its gross refining margin — the profit earned from each barrel of crude — was up to $11.5 in the March quarter, an upward swing compared to previous quarters.
Refining margins are a key profitability gauge for Reliance, one of the world’s largest refiners.
Reliance launched its 4G telecom services ‘Jio’ in September 2016 offering free service for the rest of the year, followed by vastly cheaper data plans and free voice calls for life.
The audacious offer left rivals scrambling to compete, and caused a rush towards consolidation in the multi-billion dollar Indian telco sector.
Jio announced recently it had signed up 72mn new subscribers. “In digital services, the Jio movement is set to transform India.
Jio is witnessing the largest migration from free to paid services in history,” Ambani added.
Hasbro, the No 2 US toymaker, reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings as strong demand for digital games more than doubled profit in its entertainment and licensing business, sending its shares to a record high.
The company’s shares rose as much as 8.5% to $104.14. Hasbro quarterly sales also overtook larger rival Mattel for the first time in 17 years.
Hasbro’s results were in contrast to Mattel, which reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss and drop in sales last week, hurt by poor demand by retailers for its Barbie and Fisher-Price brands and due to big discounts to move inventory left after weak holiday sales.
Hasbro’s sales have been on the rise, especially after it won a lucrative contract from Mattel for dolls based on Walt Disney Co’s princesses such as Cinderella and Frozen’s Elsa in 2014.
Total sales from Hasbro’s gaming category, which includes the high-margin digital gaming business and brands such as “Dungeons and Dragons”, rose 10% to $253.3mn in the first quarter ended April 2.
The company’s digital gaming unit also includes mobile game developer Backflip Studios, which it bought in January.
It makes games such as “Transformers: Earth Wars” and “Nerf Hoops”.
“The (Backflip) business revenues have been accelerating as we brought onboard some new leadership and also, we see our brands like “Transformers: Earth Wars” performing well,” Chief Executive Brian Goldner said on a conference call.
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