Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani on Friday announced that the company is finally net debt-free, adding that he has “fulfilled” his promise to shareholders.
“I have fulfilled my promise to the shareholders by making Reliance net debt-free much before our original schedule of 31st March 2021,” Ambani said in a press statement issued by RIL.
RIL has raised a total of Rs 1,68,818 crore in less than two months; 58 days to be precise. Reliance’s Jio Platforms raised Rs 1,15,693 crore through investments made in it by global tech investors. The rest Rs 53,124.20 crore was raised via the mega rights issues.
“Jio Platforms has raised Rs 115,693.95 crore from leading global investors including Facebook, Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners, General Atlantic, KKR, Mubadala, ADIA, TPG, L Catterton and PIF since April 22, 2020,” the company said in the release. If the strategic stake sale to BP is counted, the amount raised by RIL exceeds Rs 1.75 lakh crore.
It may be noted that RIL’s net debt stood at Rs 1,61,035 crore as on March 31, 2020. Therefore, Reliance has raised sufficient capital to become net debt-free and it has done it way before the March 31, 2021 deadline.
The Incredible Journey of Mukesh Ambani
Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani was born on 19 April 1957 in the British Crown colony of Aden (in present-day Yemen) to Dhirubhai Ambani and Kokilaben Ambani. Ambani lived only briefly in Yemen because his father decided to move back to India in 1958 to start a trading business that focused on spices and textiles. His family lived in a modest two-bedroom apartment in Bhuleshwar, Mumbai until the 1970s. The family’s financial status slightly improved when they moved to India but Ambani still lived in a communal society, used public transportation, and never received an allowance.
Ambani attended the Hill Grange High School at Peddar Road, Mumbai, along with his brother and Anand Jain, who later became his close associate. After his secondary schooling, he studied at the St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. He then received a BE degree in Chemical Engineering from the Institute of Chemical Technology.
In 1980, the Indian government under Indira Gandhi opened PFY (polyester filament yarn) manufacturing to the private sector. Dhirubhai Ambani applied for a license to set up a PFY manufacturing plant. Obtaining the license was a long-drawn-out process requiring a strong connection within the bureaucracy system because the government, at the time, was restricting large-scale manufacturing, making the importation of yarn for the textiles impossible. In spite of stiff competition from Tatas, Birlas and 43 others, Dhirubhai was awarded the license, more commonly addressed as License Raj. To help him build the PFY plant, Dhirubhai pulled his eldest son out of Stanford, where he was studying for his MBA, to work with him in the company.
Ambani did not return to his university program, leading Reliance’s backward integration, where companies own their suppliers to generate more revenue and improve efficiency, in 1981 from textiles into polyester fibers and further into petrochemicals, which the yarns were made from. After joining the company, he reported daily to Rasikbhai Meswani, then executive director. The company was being built from scratch with the principle of everybody contributing to the business and not heavily depend on selected individuals. Dhirubhai treated him as a business partner allowing him the freedom to contribute even with little experience. This principle came into play after Rasikbhai’s death in 1985 along with Dhirubhai suffering a stroke in 1986 when all the responsibility shifted to Ambani and his brother. Mukesh Ambani set up Reliance Infocomm Limited (now Reliance Communications Limited), which was focused on information and communications technology initiatives. At the age of 24, Ambani was given charge of the construction of Patalganga petrochemical plant when the company was heavily investing in oil refinery and petrochemicals.
In 1981 he started to help his father Dhirubhai Ambani run their family business, Reliance Industries Limited. By this time, it had already expanded so that it also dealt in refining and petrochemicals. The business also included products and services in retail and telecommunications industries. Reliance Retail Ltd., another subsidiary, is also the largest retailer in India. Reliance’s Jio has earned a top-five spot in the country’s telecommunication services since its public launch on 5 September 2016.
On 6 July 2002, Mukesh’s father died after suffering a second stroke, which elevated tensions between the brothers as Dhirubhai had not left a will for the distribution of the empire in 2004. Their mother intervened to stop the feud, splitting the company into two, Ambani receiving control of Reliance Industries Limited and Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Limited, which was later approved by the Bombay High Court in December 2005. Ambani directed and led the creation of the world’s largest grassroots petroleum refinery at Jamnagar, India, which had the capacity to produce 660,000 barrels per day (33 million tonnes per year) in 2010, integrated with petrochemicals, power generation, port, and related infrastructure. In December 2013 Ambani announced, at the Progressive Punjab Summit in Mohali, the possibility of a “collaborative venture” with Bharti Airtel in setting up digital infrastructure for the 4G network in India.
On 18 June 2014, Mukesh Ambani, while addressing the 40th AGM of Reliance Industries, said he will invest Rs 1.8 trillion (short scale) across businesses in the next three years and launch 4G broadband services in 2015. In February 2016, Ambani-led Jio launched its own 4G smartphone brand named LYF. In June 2016, it was India’s third-largest-selling mobile phone brand. The release of the service Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, commonly known as Jio, in September 2016 was a success, and Reliance’s shares increased. During the 40th annual general meeting of RIL, he announced bonus shares in the ratio of 1:1 which is the country’s largest bonus issue in India, and announced the Jio Phone at an effective price of ₹0.
Through Reliance, he also owns the Indian Premier League franchise Mumbai Indians and is the founder of Indian Super League, a football league in India. In 2012, Forbes named him one of the richest sports owners in the world. He resides at the Antilia Building, one of the world’s most expensive private residences with its value reaching $1 billion.
Sources : Reliance Industries Official and Wikipedia