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BW Businessworld

Present Tense, Future Bright?

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Offsetting a troubled present with a glorious past and rosy future prospects, Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries (RIL) delivering keynote address at the 38th AGM on Thursday said businesses of the company were impacted by inflation, subsidies and lower growth and that RIL will continue to create value across businesses and aim to outperform global peers. Partnerships will be the key to the company's future growth and it would partner with global leaders across all of its businesses.

The assurance came as Reliance shares fell by a third last year. The stock trades near a 3-year low and its market value has sunk to below $41 billion, dumping Ambani from the top of Asia's rich-list. Shares in the company traded with over 1 per cent gains on Thursday.

Reminding shareholders of a glorious past, Ambani said Reliance has a unique track record of organic growth and value generation for last 34 years. An investment of Rs 1,000 in our IPO has grown to Rs 7.78 lakh today."

He also said RIL expects to double its operating profit over the next four to five years.

The company also plans to invest Rs 1 lakh crore ($18 billion) across its businesses in India over the next 4-5 years, he said.

Further, Reliance Industries hopes to produce an additional 30 million cubic metres per day of gas at its KG-D6 field off India's east coast, Chairman Mukesh Ambani said. The additional production will be realised through further exploration and development at the field, Ambani told shareholders at the company's annual general meeting on Thursday.

Speaking on RIL-BP partnership, Ambani said that it would bring in best technology to achieve best results. "Partnerships similar to BP will be important for company's growth; RIL has grown stronger due to expansion of asset base."

Ambani said that the company was seeing an exceptional volatility in input costs. However, he reiterated that RIL will continue to invest in India in the next decade. "Investments in organised retail will create more jobs," he added.

The energy-focused conglomerate reported its second consecutive quarterly drop in profit during the three months to March, its shares are near a three-year low, and its rising cash pile has fuelled investor disquiet.

Mukesh Ambani Says At 22.5% Of Share Buyback TargetThe stock price of RIL could be expected to go through a phase of consolidation this year. The best to happen for the stock will be a simultaneous buyback and expansion of the current petrochemical capacity from 15 mt to 25 mt.
Reliance Industries has bought back 27 million shares to date, 22.5 per cent of its share buyback target, Chairman Mukesh Ambani said.

Reliance announced in January it would buy back up to 120 million shares at a maximum value of Rs 10,440 crore, its first share buyback since 2005 and the biggest ever in India. 

Ambani said on Thursday new projects in petrochemicals and refinery business would come online in the next 2 to 3 years.

Investments in refinery downstream would add 30-40 per cent to margins while retail business would be a significant and profitable business for RIL within 3 years, he said. 

He said 4G commercial rollout plans are being finalised even as the company bets big on shale gas production with output projected to grow ten times in five years from current 30 billion cubic feet. 

"Even after this investment of Rs 100,000 crore, our balance sheet will be the strongest not only in India but in the world," he said.

The company plans to achieve Rs 40,000- 50,000 crore in sales from its retail business in 3-4 years,  Chairman Mukesh Ambani told shareholders on Thursday.

Reliance operates 1,300 stores under its retail business that sells consumer goods, including apparel,  food and electronics. Reliance Retail is India's second biggest retailer in the country after Future group that owns Big Bazaar and Pantaloon Retail.



In the year-ended March, Reliance Retail clocked sales of nearly Rs 7,600 crore. Ambani said India's current economic woes are temporary saying he had full confidence in the nation's economic resilience to overcome difficulties and emerge stronger. 

"We currently finalising plans to offer nationwide digital services," he said.