Reliance first Indian private firm to cross $1 B profits

Friday, 30 April 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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MUMBAI: Diversified conglomerate Reliance Industries said Thursday its net profit for 2003-04 had crossed the $1 billion mark to become India's first private sector enterprise to reach the milestone.

"The financial year 2003-04 has been yet another landmark year in the history of Reliance," said Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Limited.

"We have become the first company in the private sector in India to record a profit of over $1 billion in a year," said Ambani who took over the group's management from Dhirubhai Ambani, the legendary first-generation entrepreneur.

In the quarter ended March 31, profits of Reliance --- a leading refiner and petrochemicals maker that also has major interests in telecom --- rose 29 percent over the same period last year on growing sales.

The Mumbai-based company said net profit for January-March quarter touched 14.2 billion, up from 11 billion logged in the like quarter of last fiscal.

Total income for the period increased 11.5 percent to 145 billion compared to 130 billion during January-March 2003, a company statement said.

For the year ended March 31, 2004, Reliance's net profit soared 26 percent to 51.60 billion ($1.2 billion), up from 41.04 billion logged in the fiscal year 2002-03.

The company's total income in the fiscal year 2003-04 grew by 14 percent to 744.18 billion.

"With economic sentiments improving across the globe and stronger indications of India emerging into a high GDP (gross domestic product) growth phase, we see attractive investment opportunities in the energy chain," Ambani said.

"We are confident that our growth initiatives will help us deliver superior financial performance on a sustainable basis in the future."

Despite posting better than expected financial numbers, shares of Reliance Industries ended with a loss of 2.1 percent at 529.20 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), tracking the overall depressed market sentiment.

The Indian stock market has become highly volatile since the last few sessions with investors fretting over the outcome of the general elections, which exit polls have warned could produce a hung parliament.

The stock market barometer 30-share BSE sensitive index or Sensex closed Thursday at 5,668.43, a loss of 44.66 points or 0.78 percent from its previous session's close.

Reliance said its production of oil and gas, and petrochemicals increased to 12.4 million tones during the year 2003-04, representing a growth of four percent over previous year's 11.8 million tones.

"We are happy with Reliance's performance in a year that showed clear signs of the petrochemical business entering into an up-cycle," said Anil Ambani, vice chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries.

"We are delighted to note that Reliance's refinery has become the third largest in the world after successful completion of the de-bottlenecking programme."

Source: IANS
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