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BW Businessworld

Going Global

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Reliance Industries (RIL) has faced numerous crises in the past four years — the export market for petroleum products, petrochemicals and polyester was shrinking; domestic markets in the organised retail sector were no better. Moreover, its natural gas production from the Krishna-Godavari (KG) D6 basin was barely a third of its peak output. But unfazed by the crisis, as RIL’s CFO Alok Agarwal says, “We used this as an opportunity to consolidate our businesses.”

The export-focused Jamnagar refinery helped increase its forex revenues; 60 per cent of its revenues come from exports. A decrease in petroleum prices in 2008-09 was offset by higher volumes. RIL reduced expenditure by 36 per cent through lower conversion costs, selling expenses and exchange rate gains. The firm has already ramped up its retail operations. Analysts are waiting for its capital expenditure to start delivering, retail to turn profitable and 4G to live up to potential.

— Nevin John

A Four-Wheeled Drive

When India won the cricket world cup in 1983, Kapil Dev was advertising Mahindra Tractors. Three decades on, in 2011, when India won the cup again, M&M was selling sedans and sports utility vehicles (SUV), apart from tractors, of course. “In 2008 and 2009, when everyone was bogged down by the slowdown, we invested in increasing capacity... So when the demand finally went up, we were prepared with new models and high capacity,” says Pawan Goenka, president of the automotive and farm equipment sectors of the group. Some of the new launches like the XUV 500 and the Xylo drove M&M’s sales growth. In fact, SUV variants contribute about two-thirds of M&M’s revenues from utility vehicles. Going forward, “performance in the segment will depend on how players are able to price, position and rejig new or existing products,” says Abdul Majeed, national automotive leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “As many players will enter the segment, we may not be able to maintain our high marketshare. But we will grow in volume,” counters Goenka.

— Sachin Dave

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 20-05-2013)

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