RIL rings in 4G phone, 1:1 bonus share for investors

Tanya Thomas Mumbai | Updated on January 27, 2018

RIL   -  Reuters

The mood was jubilant at Reliance Industries’ annual general meeting here on Friday. For one, it was the fortieth meeting since the company went public in 1977 which saw the company’s market capitalisation multiply from ₹10 crore to ₹5 lakh crore, and two, shareholders were rewarded with one additional RIL share for every RIL share they hold in a 1:1 bonus issue.

And then, Mukesh Ambani announced an “effectively-free” 4G-enabled feature phone to capture the lower-end of the telecom market. The cheers in the auditorium were deafening.

Shares of RIL closed up a whopping 3.76 per cent, at ₹1,586.20 while the benchmark Sensex barely moved up 0.39 per cent at the end of trading hours.

The last two annual shareholder meetings for RIL — and the news cycle that they generate — have been dominated by the new telecom service and now phone brand Jio, while the cash cows that fund Jio’s rapid expansion — the refining and marketing of crude oil, petrochemicals and now, organised retail — were only mentioned in passing.

Nearly a year since its launch, RIL is yet to reveal separate financial earnings for its subsidiary Reliance Jio Infocomm .

RIL reported net profit in FY17 of ₹29,901 crore, the highest among Indian corporates. FY17 marked the close of a five-year long capital expenditure cycle of ₹3.3 lakh crore, of which ₹2 lakh crore was pumped into Jio and the remaining went to the energy and materials businesses.

Petcoke project

At the Jamnagar crude oil refinery in Gujarat, the petcoke gasification project is in advanced stages of commissioning, Ambani said. “This project will convert low-value petroleum coke to high-value fuels and hydrogen and ensure energy self-sufficiency at Jamnagar. It is also the largest petcoke gasification project ever built globally....”

Regarding its upstream oil exploration and production business, which fell out of focus within the company amid several run-ins with the government on production and pricing, Ambani said on Friday that he now wants to make it “economically viable” in the coming years.

Jewel in RIL crown

In the next few years, Ambani said, the energy and materials businesses will have the potential to reach operating revenue of ₹1 lakh crore. But, “I have described Jio as a jewel among the many assets of Reliance,” Ambani said.

“Our best-in-the-world connectivity network enables our customers to participate on multiple digital platforms, including e-commerce, financial services, manufacturing, agriculture, entertainment, education, health care, and many more,” he added.

Published on July 21, 2017

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