India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, is used to dealing with troublesome allegations – the anti-corruption Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has certainly provided him with lots of practice in the last few months.
But accusations from the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) over Reliance Industries’ telecoms business do sound a red alert, given that the sector is just recovering from a scandal over 2G spectrum allocations from 2008. Read more
The looming general election just got more exciting, as Arvind Kejriwal, leader of the anti-corruption Aam Aadmi Party has declared he will go head to head with Narendra Modi and stand from Varanasi.
Meanwhile, the prospect of a change of government is already hitting policy as the Election Commission has said it may delay the gas price hike scheduled for next month – something the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party is questioning. Read more
Cast doubt aside: the Indian government has made it official. Gas prices are going to be doubled in the next fiscal year.
Cue the rally. Read more
On Friday, India’s cabinet approved the creation of an independent regulator for the coal industry and announced that the Coal Regulatory Authority Bill 2013 will now be put before Parliament.
So far, all as expected. So why have shares in Coal India jumped over 7 per cent? Read more
Last month, India’s once-feuding Ambani brothers made their first step towards reconciliation since they carved up their father’s Reliance business in 2005. Investors and hacks all pricked up their ears; the news that Mukesh, the elder brother, was providing businesses for the younger Anil’s beleaguered operations was surely to be welcomed.
Anil Ambani’s companies have seen their market value soar since the deal was announced – shares in Reliance Communications (RCom) have almost doubled in price. But is this just a reflection on the value of brotherly love? Read more
After tearing apart their father’s conglomerate, which started out producing polyester, the Ambani brothers appear to be patching things up.
After years of rumours, Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm has signed a Rs12bn ($220m) deal with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications to use its inter-city fibreoptic network. And this may well be just a taster for a far bigger deal to come, involving the younger brother’s telecoms towers business. Read more
Last week, Reliance became the first Indian company to issue a perpetual bond. The oversubscribed $800m issue, rated BAA2 by Moody’s, was a landmark in a national corporate bond market that has long struggled to develop and expand.
With bullish foreign investors hungry for emerging market bonds, they might be interested in putting more money into India’s corporate bonds. But there’s really not a lot to buy. Read more
Two months after it got government approval for plans to increase production at its flagging flagship natural gas field, KG-D6, Reliance Industries has received a letter making that approval official (ah, Indian bureaucracy). Read more
Shares in Reliance Industries closed down 4.5 per cent on Monday on news that the company has dramatically scaled back investment plans for KG-D6, the underperforming natural gas field it co-owns with BP, following the announcement that Morgan Stanley had downgraded the stock to underweight.
The Press Trust of India reports that RIL will cut its investment in KG-D6 by around $3bn. Instead of the $9bn the company had proposed to spend on the block, it now plans to add just $235m to the $5.7bn it has already spent. Read more
Reliance Industries plans on investing upwards of $20bn in its petrochemicals, refining, retail and telecoms businesses over the next few years. But on oil and gas exploration – one of its most important businesses – it may not spend a penny.
The reason? In a word, Delhi. The government has not approved a single oil and gas project for the company – including additional capex at the blooming boondoggle that is the KG-D6 natural gas field co-owned with BP – and it maintains a tight hold on the price at which companies are allowed to sell natural gas. Read more
A research note released Thursday by a leading Indian broker warned Reliance Industries may be forced to write-down a portion of its $3.5bn in US shale assets because of low natural gas and natural gas liquids prices and increased production costs.
Any such write down would likely be temporary in nature – it would, essentially, be the company saying: “prices are too low to make extracting these reserves worth it, so we’re going to wait a few years for prices to climb and bring them back on the books then.” Read more
After the humiliation of last month’s power cuts, India faces the tricky conundrum of how to keep its lights on in future. The answer? Import gas, and lots of it, at least if a report out on Wednesday from Boston Consulting Group is to be believed. Read more
It may seem no bad thing that India Inc is sitting on a mountain of cash – over $167bn at the end of March for the top listed 500 companies, according to the Economic Times. With the economy slowing and earnings weak – from State Bank of India to Bharti Airtel – the money might come in useful.
But in reality, the 26 per cent increase in net cash over the past three years is worrying evidence of the concerns India’s corporate leaders have over the economy. With industrial production flat, growth slackening, and inflation running high, these companies are unlikely to spend their reserves anytime soon. Read more
Shares in Reliance Industries rose over 5 per cent Monday on news that the company had agreed to share information on its biggest natural gas asset, the underperforming KG-D6 gas field, with the government – a move which could alleviate some of the tension between the two parties.
The spike in share price comes the day before the gas field’s management committee, headed by the country’s top hydrocarbon regulator, is set to meet to discuss RIL’s request for additional capital expenditure approval. Read more
Lakshmi Mittal and Anish Kapoor with Kapoor’s design for the ArcelorMittal Orbit
As discussed in Wednesday’s FT Notebook, India has a uniquely dreadful Olympic record, consistently earning an unwelcome title as the world’s worst performer at the games and frequently returning empty handed. But this time things might be different – and if they are, some of the nation’s most recognisable corporate titans can take a least some of the credit. Read more
Reliance Industries on Friday posted its third successive drop in net profit, only narrowly beating market expectations. Those hoping the new fiscal year would bring a turnaround for the oil and gas company after two gloomy quarters were left disappointed by a 21 per cent fall in net profit to $808m, compared with the same quarter last year. Read more
Based solely on personal taste, Mukesh Ambani cuts an unlikely figure as a fashion magnate – evidence pictured left.
Yet India’s richest man has built quite a stable of fashion brands in his retail portfolio, including Diesel, Kenneth Cole and Brooks Brothers. On Friday, Reliance Brands – a part of Ambani’s Reliance Industries – announced that it had added another foreign brand, Superdry, which will join fellow Brit Thomas Pink in the Ambani fold. Read more
We might need a smaller pipe
Reliance Industries simply cannot get a break when it comes to Krishna Godavari D-6, the natural gas field it co-owns with BP.
On Thursday, shares in India’s largest company by market capitalisation were down as much as 3.47 per cent. Why? Reliance’s junior partner in the field, Canada’s Niko Resources – which owns a 10 per cent stake – issued a release cutting their estimates of the field’s reserves by 80 per cent, to 1.93tn cubic feet. Read more
Shale gas has the potential to transform the global gas industry. A lot of it is to be found in emerging markets, home to seven of the 10 biggest shale gas reserves worldwide. So you’d expect the world’s “supermajors” to be lining up for their slice of the cake.
Sure thing, says Christopher Haines, energy specialist at visiongain, a business information provider. But oil and gas companies from the developed world won’t have it all to themselves. Chinese and Indian companies will take their share, too – though other EM players may be left out. Read more