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What Ambani has in store for Reliance

Last updated on: June 3, 2011 15:53 IST

What Ambani has in store for Reliance

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Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani gave a glimpse into the future of the company at the annual general meeting in Mumbai on Friday saying the company will be debt-free in the current 2011-2012 fiscal, and that it will add further financial muscle to energy-to-retail conglomerate led by him.

He also said that that RIL will partner world leaders for entering new businesses in the country.

However, RIL shares were hammered down at the bourses and they slipped by 1.65 per cent to Rs 936.15 at close of trade on the Bombay Stock Exchange as the company's AGM was a disappointing affair according to market players.

RIL had outstanding debt of Rs 67,397 crore ($15.1 billion) as of March 31, 2011, as against Rs 62,495 crore ($13.9 billion) a year ago.

At the same time, RIL had cash and cash-equivalents of Rs 42,393 crore ($9.5 billion) as on March 31 this year, which was nearly double the level seen a year ago.

These were mainly in fixed deposits, certificate of deposits with banks, mutual funds and government securities/bonds.

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Image: RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani with wife Nita in Mumbai.
Photographs: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters
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Addressing the company's shareholders at its 37th annual general meeting in Mumbai, Ambani said that RIL's enterprise value stood at about $75 billion.

He said that RIL's revenue has grown by 28 per cent on year-on-year basis over the past 33 years since its IPO, while profit and market capitalisation have grown by 33 per cent on an average every year during this period.

Although he was silent on specific details for the future course of action of RIL's entry into financial services and telecom businesses, Ambani said that a partnership-led transformation would be one of the top agenda going forward.

". . . transformation is at the top of the Reliance agenda for a renewed organisation that will deliver continuous growth," Ambani said.

Ambani listed among the top agenda 'a partnership transformation that will enable Reliance to partner with world leaders to enter new business domains in India'.

He also promised 'a business transformation that will fundamentally strengthen the constitution and character of the organisation'.

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Image: RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani.
Photographs: Reuters
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RIL to become debt-free this year: Mukesh

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Ambani said Reliance was endowed with a strong balance sheet and it was reinforcing its constitution with the business transformation initiative.

Ambani went on to talk about a talent transformation to help it attract best talent in the country and abroad, an innovation-led technology transformation to explore new businesses and a market-transformation to help Reliance explore new consumer markets.

Ambani said the focused efforts would be undertaken to transform Reliance into a 'renewed and refreshed organisation prepared for opportunities and challenges of a 21st century world'.

He said the year 2010 presented the company with opportunities in market growth and for investments across each of its businesses.

At the same time, RIL had to confront challenges arising out of high commodity and input prices and inflationary trends, he added.

Still, RIL added significantly to its financial strength and its enterprise value has grown to over $75 billion, Ambani said.

Ambani said RIL has become the first private sector company to have a turnover in excess of Rs 250,000 crore (Rs 2,500 billion) and it posted its highest ever net profit of Rs 20,286 crore (Rs 202.86 billion) in FY11.

"With a cash balance of Rs 42,393 crore (Rs 423.93 billion), out company is in a very strong position financially. Reliance will be completely debt free, net of cash balances within this year.

"All these reflect a robust financial position and a sound balance sheet. Reliance envisages the continued pursuit of new opportunities for growth and profitability on the strength of this solid financial position," he said.

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Image: The Reliance Industries Limited petrochemical plant at Hazira in this file photo.
Photographs: Handout/Reuters
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What Ambani has in store for Reliance

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'Reliance Retail to enter wholesale business soon'

Reliance Retail said on Friday it would soon launch cash-and-carry format stores for wholesale business, while its consumer-focused business will become a market leader across all formats in the next two years in India.

Addressing Reliance Industries shareholders at the company's 37th AGM, the Chairman and MD said Reliance Retail will 'soon' launch cash-and-carry format stores to offer numerous national and international brands to small traders across the country.

Reliance Industries Ltd had forayed into the retail arena with Reliance Fresh stores selling fruits, vegetables and other grocery items in 2006.

Upon entry into the wholesale space, RIL will compete with multinationals like Germany's Metro, USA's Walmart and French retailer Carrefour, which have already set up wholesale stores in India.

Even UK-based Tesco is working on plans to set up its first cash-and-carry store in the country amid anticipation that the government is likely to ease FDI norms in both the wholesale and retail formats.

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RIL conceptualising products for mobile broadband

Sitting on pan-India spectrum for Broadband Wireless Access for nearly a year, RIL said on Friday it is in the process of conceptualising the products and services to be offered.

"... The services would be in the domain of education, healthcare, entertainment, financial services and government-citizen interfaces," Mukesh Ambani told shareholders at the AGM.

Broadband and broadband-enabled digital services are the next big leap forward in the digital transformation of our knowledge economy, he added.

"We foresee the creation and social value via the creation of a national, next generation broadband infrastructure," Ambani said.


Image: (L-R) Kokilaben, Neeta Ambani, Mukesh Ambani and their daughter Isha arrive for the RIL's AGM.
Photographs: Sahil Salvi
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