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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

RIL unveils Rs. 1,80,000-cr plan, to start 4G next year

Hindustan Times, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 18, 2014
First Published: 18:53 IST(18/6/2014) | Last Updated: 00:02 IST(19/6/2014)

Unveiling an ambitious Rs. 1.8-lakh crore investment plan across its businesses in the next three years, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani assured shareholders on Wednesday that the company is moving close to its aspirations of becoming one of the top 50 companies in the world.
 
RIL, India’s largest private sector company with a turnover of over Rs. 4 lakh crore, is currently ranked 135th on the Fortune 500 list of global companies.

Addressing the annual shareholders meeting of the company, Ambani unveiled his vision to achieve in the next three years what the firm had done in 37 years of its listed history. He also announced that Reliance will start offering 4G telecom services next year.

“Over the next three years, the commissioning of each of our large projects in petrochemicals and refining, strengthening of our retail business and the launch of Jio business will propel us closer to our aspiration of being a Fortune 50 company, as we complete 40 years of our corporate journey,” said Ambani.

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As against the earlier investment plan of Rs. 1.5 lakh crore, Ambani said RIL will now invest Rs. 1.8 lakh crore in margin — enhancing petrochem units, expansion of the energy business, opening of more retail stores and rollout of the telecom venture.

Ambani said the company, which became the biggest retailer in the country by revenue in 2013-14, is aiming to double its retail business every 3-4 years.

RIL will start offering fourth-generation (4G) telecommunications services next year, Ambani said on Wednesday, a move that will intensify competition in an already crowded market.

Reliance, India's third-most valuable company, gets most of its revenue from its sprawling energy empire. It has expanded into new businesses like retail, telecommunications and media in recent years as growth in its core energy business slows.

Reliance made a return to telecoms in 2010 by acquiring the only company that had won nationwide 4G airwaves in a government auction, but has yet to start services as it builds the business on an unproven and still-developing technology.

On Wednesday, Ambani told shareholders that Reliance was planning an investment of 700 billion rupees ($11.7 billion) in the telecoms business, Reliance Jio, and would launch services in phases across India in 2015.

Nita Ambani becomes first woman director on RIL board

Nita Ambani, wife of chairman Mukesh Ambani, has become the first woman to be appointed on the board of Reliance Industries Ltd.

Nita’s appointment was approved by shareholders at the company’s 40th annual general meeting on Wednesday and she takes the place of Mukesh’s uncle Ramniklal Ambani, who retired from the board at the age of 90.

To meet gender diversity, the new Company Law enacted by the central government requires listed companies to have at least one woman among the board of directors. Nita’s appointment will help Reliance meet this requirement.

Nita Ambani, 50, has been the chairperson of Reliance Foundation, spearheading the oil and gas to retail giant’s initiatives in education, health, environment protection and sports among others. “My mission will be to bring speed, scale and social contract to RIL’s larger mission,” she said.

The RIL board, headed by Mukesh Ambani, 57, currently has his cousins Nikhil R Meswani and Hital R Meswani. Ramniklal H Ambani, who is the elder brother of Dhirubhai H Ambani, the late founder chairman of the company, was the other director from the promoter family.

(With inputs from PTI and Reuters)


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