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India In-Focus — Reliance Industries profit surges; Budget carrier Akasa opens bookings
RIYADH: India’s Reliance Industries Ltd. on Friday reported a 46.3 percent jump in June-quarter profit, as robust refining margins due to intake of cheaper Russian crude and fuel exports buoyed its dominant oil-to-chemicals business.
The Mukesh Ambani-led conglomerate said consolidated profit rose to 179.55 billion rupees ($2.25 billion) in the three months ended June 30 compared with 122.73 billion rupees a year earlier.
Reliance emerged as one of the key buyers of discounted Russian crude after some Western buyers shunned it following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in late February.
The private refiner also boosted fuel exports during the quarter, especially to European countries grappling with shortages due to the sanctions on Russia.
“Geopolitical conflict has caused significant dislocation in energy markets and disrupted traditional trade flows. This along with resurgent demand has resulted in tighter fuel markets and improved product margins,” said Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries.
India’s newest budget carrier Akasa opens bookings
India’s newest budget carrier Akasa Air, which is backed by billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, has opened ticket sales for its first commercial flights starting Aug. 7, the airline said in a statement on Friday.
Akasa’s initial network will include a total of 56 weekly flights between the western cities of Mumbai and Ahmedabad and the southern cities of Bengaluru and Kochi on its new Boeing 737 MAX planes, it said.
“Akasa Air’s network strategy is focused on establishing a strong pan-India presence and providing linkages from metro to tier 2 and tier 3 cities across the country,” said Praveen Iyer, the airline’s co-founder and chief commercial officer.
Iyer said Akasa will expand its network in a phased manner, connecting to more cities as it adds new aircraft each month.
Domino’s may shift business away from Zomato and Swiggy
Domino’s Pizza India franchise will consider taking some of its business away from popular food delivery apps, Zomato and SoftBank-backed Swiggy, if their commissions rise further, according to a letter seen by Reuters.
The disclosure was made by Jubilant FoodWorks, which runs the Domino’s and Dunkin’ Donuts chain in India, in a confidential filing with the Competition Commission of India which is investigating alleged anti-competitive practices of Zomato and Swiggy.
Jubilant is India’s largest food services company, with more than 1,600 branded restaurant outlets – including 1,567 Domino’s and 28 Dunkin outlets.
The CCI ordered in April its probe into Zomato and Swiggy after an Indian restaurant group alleged preferential treatment, exorbitant commissions and other anti-competitive practices. The food delivery apps deny any wrongdoing.
After the CCI sought responses from Domino’s India franchise and several other restaurants as part of its investigation, Jubilant sought more time to share data related to its online sales, but wrote to the watchdog expressing concerns over the potentially higher commission of food-ordering platforms.
“In case of an increase in commission rates, Jubilant will consider shifting more of its businesses from online restaurant platforms to the in-house ordering system,” the company stated in its July 19 letter addressed to the CCI.
Jubilant FoodWorks declined to comment, while the CCI and Swiggy did not respond.
(With input from Reuters)
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