Thursday 17 January 2008

Reliance Energy's Profit Rises 50%, Beats Estimates

Reliance Energy Ltd., India's second- largest utility by market value, said third-quarter profit rose 50 percent as record economic growth spurred demand for power.

Net income increased to 3.02 billion rupees ($76.9 million) in the three months ended Dec. 31 from 2.01 billion rupees a year earlier, helped by a tax refund, the Mumbai-based company said in a statement. That beat the 2.28 billion rupees estimate by a Bloomberg survey of seven analysts.

Reliance Energy, controlled by billionaire Anil Ambani, quadrupled in value last year, the biggest gain among India's benchmark stocks, as the government pledged to boost spending on generation and distribution to end blackouts. Investors have ordered more than 16 times the shares on offer in Reliance Energy's unit this week in the nation's biggest public offering.

``It's one of the government's priority sectors,'' said K.K. Mital, chief investment officer of Escorts Asset Management Ltd. in New Delhi. ``The response for Reliance Power's IPO shows the people's confidence on the company and the sector.''

Reliance Power Ltd., half owned by Reliance Energy, is seeking as much as 117 billion rupees ($3 billion) through the share sale. Reliance Energy will own the group's distribution businesses in Mumbai and New Delhi.

Revenue in the three months rose to 18.5 billion rupees compared with 18.2 billion rupees a year earlier, the company said in the statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange. Net income included a tax refund of 895 million rupees. The company posted currency gains of 600 million rupees in the quarter, the statement said.

Spending Plan

Reliance Energy dropped 53.9 rupees, or 2.4 percent, to 2,212.7 rupees at the 3:30 p.m. close on the Bombay Stock Exchange. The benchmark Sensex index declined 0.84 percent to 19,700.82 points.

The utility on Oct. 30 said it will separate its road, metro rail and real estate businesses, which have planned $4.6 billion of investments with partners, into one unit.

The company may spend about 180 billion rupees on four railway, highway, real estate and bridge projects, Venkatesh Somayaji, the New Delhi-based spokesman for Reliance Energy said on Oct. 30. Some of the projects are being implemented along with partners, he said.

India plans to add 78,577 megawatts of capacity in the five years to March 2012 to partly bridge a 13 percent shortfall in peak demand, the government has said. About 400 million Indians do not have access to electricity, according to the United Nations' Human Development Report of 2007.