India's Reliance Awaits Government Nod For More Gas Investments

Profit Beats Estimates

In a surprise move, Reliance's telecommunications business unit this week applied to bid in a mobile phone spectrum auction starting next month, heating up competition.

Voice telephony, which is the mainstay for Indian mobile phone carriers, will be a service Reliance aims to offer, along with its yet-to-start high-speed 4G broadband Internet venture, Agarwal said, declining to give further details.

Reliance's net profit at 55.11 billion rupees ($895 million)for its fiscal third quarter to December was little changed from a year earlier. However, it beat the 53.4 billion rupees estimated on average by 14 analysts, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.

Revenue for the quarter rose 10.5 percent to 1.06 trillion rupees, Reliance said. Revenue from refining, which accounts for more than 80 percent of the total, rose 10 percent to 954.32 billion rupees. Retail business revenue was up 38 percent to 39.27 billion rupees.

Reliance held cash reserves of $14.4 billion at the end of December and was debt free on a net basis, it said.

Shares in Reliance, valued at more than $46 billion, eased 0.2 percent ahead of the earnings in a Mumbai market that closed 0.9 percent down. The stock gained 6.6 percent last year, almost in line with the broader market index.

($1 = 61.56 rupees)

(Writing by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Mark Potter)


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