Ambani-helmed Reliance becomes India’s 2nd US$100 billion firm

July 12, 2018 | By | Reply More

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Reliance hopes to get half of its revenue from newer consumer businesses, including telecom, and reduce dependence on core oil-refining and chemicals segments.

Labourers sit outside a Reliance Industries construction site at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai, India (Bloomberg pic)

MUMBAI: Reliance Industries Ltd is back in the US$100 billion club, a journey that has taken more than a decade.

Shares for the billionaire Mukesh Ambani-helmed company jumped as much as 5.8% on Thursday, pushing up the market value to US$100.57 billion. Reliance is the second Indian corporate to surpass the $100 billion mark after Tata Consultancy Services in April. Ambani has regained the second-richest Asian tag, overtaking Tencent Holdings’ CEO Ma Huateng, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

“It is a big deal,” said Sunil Sharma, who oversees US$1 billion in assets as chief investment officer at Sanctum Wealth Management Pvt in Mumbai. “Indian companies sporting large market caps is an announcement of the nation’s emergence and entry into the big leagues.”

Reliance is on the cusp of transformation as it hopes to get as much as half of its revenue from the newer consumer businesses, including telecom, and reduce its dependence on the mainstay oil-refining and chemicals segments. The stock had lagged the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex for years until last March, when Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd – the disruptive telecom unit that debuted in 2016 with free offers – decided to start charging for its data services and boosted investor hopes of better returns on investment.

The shares gained 4.3% to a record 1,083.45 rupees at 3.08pm in Mumbai, taking the year-to-date advance to about 18%.

Ambani, while addressing shareholders earlier this month, laid out an ambitious e-commerce road map that would draw on group’s retail and telecom units to take on the likes on Inc and Walmart Inc.

“Big Indian companies are demonstrating bigger innovation and ambition, precisely what is needed to take on the large US players,” Sharma said.

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