By Promit Mukherjee
MUMBAI, Oct 18 (Reuters) - India's Reliance Industries Ltd RELI.NS said on Friday its net profit rose 18.3% for the second quarter compared with a year ago, in another bumper quarter boosted by strong growth in its consumer-facing businesses.
The oil-to-telecom conglomerate's consolidated net profit rose to 112.62 billion Indian rupees ($1.58 billion) in the three months ended Sept. 30, the country's largest company by market value said.
Analysts on average had expected a profit of 111.71 billion rupees, according to Refinitiv data.
"The company has reported a record net profit for the quarter," Chairman Mukesh Ambani said, adding that the results also reflect the rapid scale-up of its consumer businesses.
Its telecom business, Jio, posted operating revenue of 123.54 billion rupees, while revenue at its organised retail business jumped to 412.02 billion rupees.
Meanwhile, gross refining margin, profit earned on each barrel of crude oil processed, was reported at $9.4 per barrel. This is higher than the previous quarter, but a whisker below $9.5 per barrel posted in the same quarter of last year.
Reliance runs a 1.4-million barrels per day (bpd) refinery in western India.
As new marine fuel regulations are set to kick in from April, more vessels are opting for diesel, pushing up prices of the fuel and benefiting refiners.
The company has invested billions of dollars in the last few years to boost its income from consumer-facing businesses as it looks to bring it on par with traditional refining and petrochemicals business.
"Our investment cycle is now coming to an end with all the projects in our energy business close to completion and the major investments in our network for our digital business also being made," Chief Financial Officer Alok Agarwal told reporters.
Jio's net profit jumped 45.4% to 9.9 billion rupees because it added some 24 million customers during the quarter.
Its retail operations continued on a strong growth trajectory and posted an earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of 20.35 billion rupees, the company said.
($1 = 71.1090 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Promit Mukherjee; Editing by Alexandra Ulmer and Uttaresh.V)
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