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Fitch affirms ratings of India's RIL - Outlook Stable

Mar '07
Fitch Ratings has affirmed the 'BBB-' (BBB minus) Long-term foreign currency and local currency Issuer Default ratings (IDR) as well as the 'AAA(ind)' National Long-term issuer rating of India-based Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). Fitch has also affirmed the 'AAA(ind)' rating of RIL's INR130 billion non-convertible debenture programme. The Outlook on the ratings is Stable.

The ratings reflect RIL's dominant position in the domestic petrochemicals sector, its efficient refining operations, its scale of operations in key product lines and its comfortable capital structure which is supported by robust cash generation from its core businesses. RIL's international ratings are constrained by a maximum of one notch by India's country ceiling of 'BBB-' (BBB minus).

The Stable Outlook reflects Fitch's expectation that RIL's petrochemical and refining margins will remain strong despite some volatility. Also, debt protection measures are likely to remain consistent with the rating assigned, even after taking into consideration the substantial capital expenditures underway.

Although refining margins tend to be volatile, RIL has been able to consistently maintain its margins above global benchmarks due to the high complexity of its refinery; this has enabled it to process heavier and sourer crude oil while achieving a relatively higher yield of light and middle distillates. RIL has been helped by higher than historical average refining margins globally overthe last few years along with increased light-heavy crude oil differentials and an increased demand for light distillates - all factors which have made complex refineries more profitable. A favourable demand-supply scenario in the domestic petrochemicals market coupled with RIL's dominant domestic position and global scale of operations have aided the high profitability of the company.

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