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BW Businessworld

Slowly Slipping Down

At 25th position, Anil Ambani’s wealth is shrinking and his businesses are declining

Photo Credit : Bloomberg


Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani’s wealth rose nominally from Rs 25,461 crore in FY16 to Rs 33,375 in FY17, an increase of 31 per cent.
In the 2017 Forbes Rich List, Ambani’s net worth shrank to just $3.15 billion compared to brother Mukesh’s $38 billion. In fact, Ambani’s Reliance Group too reflected the same trend. The combined market value of his firms — Reliance Capital, Reliance Infrastructure and Reliance Communications — dropped 17 per cent to Rs 47,017 crore since 2006. Meanwhile, the group’s debt has gone up from around Rs 25,000 crore in 2009-10 to Rs 45,000 crore at present.

Reeling under the growing pile of debt, Reliance Communications plans to sell its telecom assets, including spectrum, towers and fibre, worth Rs 25,000 crore by March 2018 to pre-pay lenders and exit the ongoing strategic debt restructuring (SDR) programme.

Ambani is in fact facing irate lenders (including China Development Bank) who have filed complaints at the National Company Law Tribunal for recovery of their dues.  In the wake of the present situation, Ambani has called off RCom’s merger deal with rival Aircel and also scrapped the highly lucrative tower deal with Canadian firm Brookfield.

Meanwhile, to bail out Ambani’s RCom, brother Mukesh’s Reliance Jio announced a deal for spectrum, towers and optic fibre assets in December, 2017, expected to be around Rs 23,000 crore. According to Ambani, strategic investors too are coming on board RCom to reduce its debt burden by about Rs 25,000 crore.

On the defence front, the Reliance Group formed a JV — Dassault Reliance Aerospace, with French aircraft maker Dassault Aviation.

On the power side, Reliance Infrastructure has signed an agreement to sell its Mumbai power business to Adani Transmission for Rs 18,800 crore to reduce its debt and accumulate Rs 3,000 crore as cash surplus.

With the entire group reeling under heavy debts, Ambani has his task cut out. Protecting Dhirubhai Ambani’s legacy will take all of Ambani’s strength.