Reliance Industries shares fall nearly 5% as Covid-19 hits oil business.

Shares of Reliance Industries Ltd fell as much as 4.7% in early trade on Monday after the Indian conglomerate posted a sharp drop in quarterly revenue from its dominant oil-to-chemicals business.

Reliance, which operates the world’s largest refining complex, said on Friday revenue from its oil-to-chemicals division fell nearly 30% in the three months ended Dec. 31.

Total revenue slid 21% to 1.24 trillion rupees, and the company said its operations and revenue during the period were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reliance, led by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, has built leading consumer-facing businesses in recent years to diversify away from its mainstay energy arm, but a coronavirus-driven slump in fuel demand has weighed on the Mumbai-headquartered group’s recent results.

RIL’s cyclicals business reporting has become opaque, with no disclosures on gross refining margin (GRM) data this time around, BOB Capital Markets said in a note over the weekend.

“We need to see earnings traction to justify the recent surge in stock price as the rally factors in positives from debt reduction. O2C (the oil to chemicals business) earnings growth remains elusive in the current pandemic-led uncertainty,” the brokerage added.

Reliance, which did not share the GRM, announced a reorganization on Friday, according to which it now houses its oil refining, fuel retailing and petrochemicals operations together.

Reliance shares gained about 5.8% last week in the run-up to the results but were flat for this year after a more than 32% gain last year.

The company raised about $26 billion last year from investors like Google and Facebook for its digital and retail arms.

Source- Hindustan Times.

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