India\'s largest private firm Reliance Industries on Monday said first-quarter net profit jumped nearly 17 percent to a new record as refining margins offset slowing gas output from its fields. The oil and petrochemical giant said net profit rose to 56.61 billion rupees ($1.27 billion) in the three months to June from 48.51 billion rupees in the same period a year earlier, on sales which sales surged 37 percent to 836 billion rupees. A spokesman told AFP it was the highest-ever quarterly net profit posted by the company. Reliance\'s shares rose nearly one percent to 882.15 rupees ahead of the earnings figures, which were broadly in line with market forecasts. \"The growth in earnings was driven by strong refining margins and sustained performance in the petrochemicals business,\" Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani said in a statement. Reliance\'s gross refining margins rose to $10.30 a barrel for the April to June quarter, from $7.30 a year earlier. The energy giant last Friday got cabinet approval for a $7.2-billion deal to sell a major stake in two dozen of its oil and gas blocks to Britain\'s BP. Under the agreement, announced in February, BP will buy a 30 percent stake in Reliance\'s oil and gas blocks, including India\'s largest gas field KG-D6. The move is the first by a global major to help explore and produce oil in India from hard-to-exploit reserves. India imports about 80 percent of its crude oil and has been frantically trying to find new fuel sources as the country\'s economy grows. During the quarter, gas output from Reliance’s KG-D6 block declined 18 percent to 156.2 billion cubic feet, it said in a statement. Ambani, ranked as the world\'s ninth richest man by Forbes magazine this year with a fortune of $27 billion, has announced \"mega-expansion\" plans into telecom and banking -- high-growth areas in India. Reliance operates the world’s largest oil-processing complex in Jamnagar, western India, where two adjacent refineries can process a combined 1.24 million barrels of oil a day. The petrochemical giant has built up a war chest for acquisitions and has cash reserves of over 457 billion rupees ($10.2 billion).