Billionaire Mukesh Ambani has accelerated the timeframe for wiping out Rs 1.61 lakh crore of net debt at his Reliance Industries by bringing in strategic investors in key businesses as well as committing more equity.
Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), had in August last year set a target of March 2021 to make the oil-to-telecom conglomerate net debt-free. But thanks to a USD 5.7 billion (Rs 43,547 crore) deal with Facebook, a Rs 53,125 crore rights issue and more stake sale to companies such as Saudi Aramco, the target is likely to be achieved by December.
In an investor and media call post announcement of the company’s fourth-quarter earnings, RIL’s Joint Chief Financial Officer Srikanth Venkatachari said, “The zero net debt target will be achieved within the 2020 calendar year.”
Since the August announcement, Ambani has sold a 9.99 per cent stake in the digital platform that houses India’s youngest but biggest mobile operator to Facebook, decided to hive out Reliance’s oil and petrochemicals business into a separate entity to help a proposed stake sale to Saudi Arabian Oil Co (Saudi Aramco), and pledged to make up for any shortfall in the rights issue.
The company expects to complete a capital raising programme totalling Rs 1.04 lakh crore by June, Venkatachari said.