Reliance Industries posts big profits jump

Image caption, Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani wants to expand into sectors outside energy

India's Reliance Industries has reported a big jump in profits, thanks largely to higher margins at its refining and petrochemical business.

Net profits for the final three months of last year came in at 51.4bn rupees ($1.13bn; £705m), a rise of 28% on the 40bn rupees it made a year earlier.

However, the results fell short of analysts' expectations.

Reliance's chairman, Mukesh Ambani, is ranked as the world's fourth richest man by Forbes Magazine.

"We had a record quarter as refining and petrochemical margins continued to improve, led by robust demand in local markets," he said.

Gross oil refining margins rose to $9 a barrel, up from $5.9 a barrel a year earlier.

Despite the strong rise in profits, analysts had expected more.

"Earnings were marginally below expectations on the profit and revenue front," said Sonam Udasi at IDBI Capital.

However, shares in Reliance rose 1.8% following the results announcement.

Last year, Reliance announced plans to expand its shale gas business by investing more than $4bn in three ventures with US companies.

It is also expanding into other sectors, and paid $1bn to take a 95% stake in Infotel Broadband, which emerged as the surprise winner in India's wireless broadband auction last June.

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