Reliance Industries shares traded higher on Tuesday ahead of the company's fourth quarter earnings announcement, but analysts say the company's January to March quarter earnings may be muted, reflecting the slowdown in the Indian economy.
RIL, India's third biggest company by market value, has been under pressure from investors on account of its slowing energy business and a drive into consumer-focused sectors such as telecom and financial services, in which it is yet to turn a profit.
Brokers polled by NDTV expect RIL to report a net profit of Rs 5,540 crore, a 0.7 per cent rise over Rs 5,502 crore in the December quarter. Net sales, however, may dip 0.9 per cent sequentially to Rs 93,045 crore over Rs 93,886 crore in the December quarter.
On an annual basis, sales are seen rising 9 per cent from Rs 85,182 crore posted for the quarter ending March 2012, while net profit is seen up 31 per cent from Rs 4,326 crore.
Deven Choksey, managing director at KR Choksey, told NDTV that RIL may throw up a few surprises in this quarter. The retail business is expected to break even and may contribute to the bottomline. Shale gas production numbers, reported at the end of the year, could also be a positive, he added.
Refining margins are likely to be flat. Gross refining margins, the difference between the price of petroleum products and crude oil, is seen in a range of $9.65 to $10 per barrel against $9.6 per barrel registered in the December quarter.
Operating profit in RIL's petrochemical business, the second biggest after refining, is seen rising 5 per cent year-on-year and 17 per cent quarter-on-quarter.
"Volume growth is not possible in refining or petrochemical business leave aside oil and gas segment," Mr Choksey said.
RIL shares traded 1.1 per cent higher at Rs 801.80 on the Bombay Stock Exchange as of 1.05 p.m., in-line with the broader BSE Oil and Gas benchmark. The stock has fallen 5 per cent over the last month, underperforming a 2.5 per cent decline in the benchmark.