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Mukesh Ambani vs Anil Ambani: expect a new story

business Updated: Jun 18, 2010 01:04 IST
Anupama Airy
Anupama Airy
Hindustan Times
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So, is a re-make of Deewar releasing this Friday in Mumbai?

When billionaire brothers Anil and Mukesh Ambani fell apart after the demise of their father and were locked in business disputes, the “wall” between them and the role their mother played often drew allusions to the 1970s Bollywood’s classic.

The scene is now set for an expected arrival of the younger sibling at the annual shareholders meeting of Mukesh-controlled Reliance Industries Ltd after the brothers holidayed together with their families last week in South Africa.

Thousands of RIL shareholders will gather at Mumbai’s Birla Matoshree hall, looking forward to the crucial announcements by company’s chairman, Mukesh Ambani.

June 18 also marks five years to the day since mother Kokilaben Ambani inked the family settlement, dividing the Reliance group empire between Anil and Mukesh.

There could be a twist in the tale. There is the near-certainty of Mukesh unveiling plans for RIL’s big-bang entry into new areas of business such as telecoms, power, coal and renewable energy – signalling the end of a non-compete pact with Anil.

With its recent acquisition of Infotel Broadband, RIL has already announced its entry into the telecom space.

“RIL has been making enquiries on coal mines as also thermal power generation,” a senior government official confirmed.

A senior RIL official said, “The group is evaluating all areas including coal and power but we are in no hurry.”

Mukesh, sources said, will also talk about the gas pact, which was the main bone of contention with younger brother Anil.

A six-week deadline set by the Supreme Court to the Ambani brothers to work out a new gas pact that went to the country’s highest court draws to a close on June 21.

Sources close to the Ambani family said the agreement is more or less sealed.

“The broader terms and conditions of the pact are settled,” said a source, adding only the quantity of gas to be given by Mukesh’s RIL to Anil’s RNRL has to be decided by a ministers’ group.