Mumbai Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has raised over ₹168,818 crore in less than two months, against its net debt of ₹161,035 crore, as on 31st March 2020, making RIL a net debt-free company and fulfilling its chairman Mukesh Ambani’s promise to shareholders much ahead of schedule.
Of the ₹1.68 lakh crore, the company received investments of ₹115,693.95 crore by global tech investors in its wholly-owned subsidiary Jio Platforms Limited and the company raised another ₹53,124.20 crore by rights issue amidst a global lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The combined capital raised has no precedence globally in such a short time. Both of these are also unprecedented in Indian corporate history and have set new benchmarks.
On August 12, 2019, at the 42nd AGM of RIL chairman Mr. Ambani had assured the shareholders about his roadmap for Reliance becoming a net-debt free company before 31st March 2021.
“We have a very clear roadmap to becoming a zero net debt company within the next 18 months that is by 31st March 2021……We have received strong interest from strategic and financial investors in our consumer businesses, Jio and Reliance Retail. We will induct leading global partners in these businesses in the next few quarters, and move towards listing of both these companies within the next five years……With these initiatives, I have no doubt that your company will have one of the strongest balance sheets in the world.”
Jio Platforms has raised ₹ 115,693.95 crore from leading global investors including Facebook, Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners, General Atlantic, KKR, Mubadala, ADIA, TPG, L Catterton and PIF since April 22, 2020. PIF’s investment marks the end of Jio Platforms’ current phase of induction of financial partners.
The RIL Rights Issue, which was subscribed 1.59 times, was not only the largest ever in India, but also the largest in the world by a non-financial entity in the last ten years.
Expressing his gratification at this achievement, Mr. Ambani said, “Today I am both delighted and humbled to announce that we have fulfilled our promise to the shareholders by making Reliance net debt-free much before our original schedule of 31st March 2021. Exceeding the expectations of our shareholders and all other stakeholders, again and yet again, is in the very DNA of Reliance. Therefore, on the proud occasion of becoming a net debt-free company, I wish to assure them that Reliance in its Golden Decade will set even more ambitious growth goals, and achieve them, in fulfilment of the vision of our Founder, Dhirubhai Ambani, to consistently increase our contribution to India’s prosperity and inclusive development.”
Along with the stake sale to BP in the petro-retail JV, the total fund raise by RIL is in excess of ₹1.75 lakh crore.
“Over the past few weeks, we have been overwhelmed by the phenomenal interest of the global financial investor community in partnering with Jio. As our fund-raising milestone from financial investors is achieved, we sincerely thank the marquee group of financial partners and warmly welcome them into Jio Platforms. I also express my heartfelt gratitude to all the retail and institutional investors, both domestic and foreign, for their overwhelming participation in our record-setting Rights Issue,” Mr. Ambani added.
RIL shares on BSE touched its 52-week high of Rs 1687.6 in an almost flat Mumbai market on Friday morning.