Reliance Industries, India's biggest company by market capitalisation, posted a 24 per cent profit for the quarter ended December 2012 year on year, beating estimates.
Net profit rose to Rs. 5,502 crore on the back of higher refining margins. Refining is the biggest of Reliance Industries' business, accounting for two-thirds of net sales and 40 per cent of the company's operating profit.
Net sales rose 10.27 per cent to Rs. 93,886 crore year-on-year. RIL had reported a profit of Rs. 4,440 crore on sales of Rs. 85,135 crore in the corresponding quarter a year ago.
Brokers polled by NDTV Profit had estimated a 12 per cent year-on-year increase in net profit to Rs. 4,960 crore. Net sales were seen rising 7.2 per cent to Rs. 91,280 crore.
Reliance, which operates the world's biggest refining complex in Jamnagar, Gujarat, posted an average gross refining margin of $9.6 per barrel for the quarter, compared to $6.8 in the same period last year.
The company has looked to widen beyond its core energy business in recent years, and has outlined a big drive into consumer-focused sectors such as telecom, retail and financial services.
Shares in RIL closed 1.15 per cent higher at Rs. 900.20 on the National Stock Exchange against a 0.3 per cent gain in the benchmark index Nifty. RIL shares rose 7 per cent for the week against a 1.8 per cent gain in the Sensex on hopes of strong earnings and after multiple brokerage upgrades.
Global brokerage Macquarie upgraded RIL to "outperform" on Friday and upped its target price to Rs. 1,100 citing a likely turnaround in growth. Earnings will nearly double over four years, Macquarie added.
On Thursday, Nomura increased its price target on the stock to Rs. 1,000. On Monday, CLSA raised its target price to Rs. 930.