Reliance becomes first Indian company with $100bn annual revenue

Conglomerate posts 26% surge in net profit to $9bn in fiscal year 2021-2022 driven by its strong retail and digital services units, but misses estimates for the fourth quarter

Jio Platforms, Reliance's telecommunications arm, posted a 17 per cent annual rise in revenue to $12.6 billion. Reuters
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Reliance Industries, the conglomerate controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, has become the first company in India to generate $100 billion in annual revenue, after reporting a record-setting 2021-2022 fiscal year driven by its retail and digital services units.

Consolidated annual revenue through the end of the fiscal year to March 31 surged 47 per cent to $104.6bn, while net profit rose about 26 per cent to $9bn, India's most valuable company said.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation also reached a new yearly high, jumping 29 per cent to $16.6bn, said Reliance, which also announced a dividend of 8 rupees ($0.10) per share. Earnings per share stood about 21 per cent higher at 92 rupees.

"The gradual opening up of economies coupled with sustained high utilisation rates across sites and the improvement in transportation fuel margins and volumes have bolstered our O2C earnings," said Mr Ambani, Reliance's chairman and managing director and Asia's second-wealthiest person, referring to the company's oil-to-chemicals business.

On a quarterly basis, however, Reliance missed analyst projections despite all its units doing well. Net income rose 22 per cent to $2.1bn in the three-month period, short of the $2.18bn estimated by Bloomberg. Revenue increased 37 per cent to almost $28bn in the quarter from a year ago, also narrowly missing expectations.

Reliance — which has a diverse portfolio spanning energy, retail, telecoms and mass media — acknowledged the challenges from the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia's military offensive in Ukraine, which offset gains made from fuel exports.

Reliance's retail business, which was hit by the pandemic and its related restrictions, rebounded as consumer demand rose. Gross revenue for the fiscal year was $26.3bn, about 27 per cent higher compared to the year-ago period. Net profit surged almost 29 per cent to $931m.

On a quarterly basis, the retail unit — which crossed the 15,000-store mark — posted revenue of $7.7bn, about 23 per cent up compared to a year ago. Net profit, however, slid 4.8 per cent to $282m.

Reliance is facing stiff competition domestically. Last month, the $103bn Tata Group rolled out its long-awaited all-in-one e-commerce app, challenging Reliance and other established names in the sector, including Amazon and Walmart, in the fiercely competitive sector.

Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, during the company's annual general meeting in Mumbai on Friday. Reuters

At Jio Platforms, Reliance's telecoms arm, revenue rose 17 per cent annually to $12.6bn, while net profit grew almost a quarter to $2bn. For the fourth quarter, revenue jumped about 21 per cent to $3.4bn, while net profit climbed 23 per cent to $569m.

Acquisitions and co-operations are also continuing. Reliance in April said it was in early stages of weighing a possible bid for Walgreens Boots Alliance’s international drugstore unit, sources said. However, in the same month, Mr Ambani abandoned a plan to buy teetering Indian retailer Future Group amid protracted legal challenges from Amazon, the world's largest e-commerce marketplace.

Late last month, Reliance signed a formal shareholder agreement with Abu Dhabi Chemicals Derivatives Company to develop a major chemicals project at the latter's industrial chemicals zone in Ruwais.

Mr Ambani added that Reliance, one of India's largest private-sector employers, was able to create around 210,000 jobs in the country over the past year.

The company is also pushing forward to boost its energy portfolio and sustainable ambitions with the development of its "new energy giga factories" complex in Jamnagar, a city in Gujarat state.

This will help provide affordable and greener energy to India's consumers and meet the growing needs of the market, at the same time helping Reliance achieve its target of becoming net carbon zero by 2035, Mr Ambani said.

Updated: May 07, 2022, 10:59 AM