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Shares in Ambani brothers' firms rise sharply

Shares in companies owned by the estranged Ambani brothers gained sharply on the BSE on Friday.

business Updated: Sep 21, 2007 17:50 IST

Shares in companies owned by estranged Ambani brothers gained sharply on the Mumbai stock exchange on Friday, some to record highs, but traders said there appeared to be no one reason behind each company's move.

Reliance Natural Resources Ltd, a natural gas transportation utility owned by the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, rose 39.4 percent at one point to a record 79.20 rupees.

Sister company Reliance Energy Ltd, a power utility, gained as much as 4.6 per cent to a record of 1,033.00 rupees.

"The company's (engineering, procurement and construction) division has a strong order book position and looks like more placement is expected in it," said Deven Choksey, Chief Executive and managing Director at KR Choksey Securities.

Indian television reported Reliance Natural Resources had filed for city gas distribution licences for two Indian cities, but traders noted chairman Anil Ambani had said in July the firm was seeking government approval to set up distribution projects in and around New Delhi as well as Mumbai.

"There has been some news on television about Reliance Natural applying for gas distribution but to that extent, it does not justify the company's stock movement to these highs," said Jay Prakash Sinha, head of research at Ambit Capital Private Ltd.

Sailav Kaji, head of derivatives at PINC Research, said there seemed to have been short-covering on Reliance Natural which had pushed the share up sharply.

He said between 64 and 69 rupees there had been an increase in open interest of 7 million shares, and this was where shorts had built up.

"After this the price has moved in one way and I believe that the level (above 69 rupees) is where shorts have been trapped," Kaji said.

Shares in older brother Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Ltd rose 4 percent to a record 2,280.00 rupees, while unit Reliance Petroleum Ltd, in which Chevron Corp holds 5 percent equity, jumped to a record 158.80 rupees, up 14.4 percent on the day.

Two company sources at Reliance Industries had said earlier in the day India's top private firm had found oil in a new block in the Krishna Godavari basin off India's east coast.

Traders said the market had already discounted Reliance finding oil in the block and nothing had changed in the firm's fundamentals.

Choksey said that Reliance Petroleum may be being bought as a cheaper option to its parent company.

"There are many hedge funds and overseas investors who are interested in buying the stock right now and we saw a large institutional deal today itself," he said.

Reliance Petroleum is also building a refinery which is expected to start operations next year.

"I think investors are buying Reliance Petroleum in anticipation of its better crude processing capabilities and higher refining margins," Choksey said.