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ANALYSTS’ PICKS: RELIANCE INDUSTRIES – MERRILL LYNCH RETAINS ‘BUY’ RATING ON RELIANCE INDUSTRIES

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 26, 2008

24 Nov 2008, 0552 hrs IST, ET Bureau

RESEARCH: MERRILL LYNCH

RATING: BUY

CMP: Rs 1,127

MERRILL Lynch has retained it ‘buy’ rating on Reliance Industries (RIL). Its refining margin has consistently been higher than the benchmark Singapore complex refining margin. Analyses suggests RIL’s superior refining margin is due to its ability to refine heavier crude than Dubai. Compared to the last refining downturn, RIL is set to benefit more in FY10-FY 11E from its ability to refine heavier crude.

Reliance Petroleum’s (RPL) refinery, which is expected to start operations soon, can process even heavier crude than RIL and has a superior product slate. The average discount of Arab heavy to Dubai since FY01 is $2.4/bbl. The discount has sustained at over $5/bbl even in the past six weeks, despite the slump in oil prices.

Merrill Lynch estimates RPL’s refining margin at $12.9/bbl if it were to operate in Q3 FY09, vis-à-vis Singapore margin of $7.3/bbl. It will produce more gasoline than RIL. Gasoline cracks have always been at a premium to naphtha and LPG cracks. Merrill Lynch feels that a weakening in diesel and gasoline cracks is the main risk to RPL attaining such high margins when it begins operations.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

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