Asset sales keyword as Anil Ambani addresses marathon of AGMs

On a day that seemed like marathon of AGMs, Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani today announced asset sales at three group firms as he addressed shareholders of various group firms one after another.

Anil Ambani Reliance Infrastructure
Reliance Infrastructure is in the advanced stage of negotiations to sell its cement business and a deal can be announced as early as this week as the Anil Ambani-led firm tries to cut debt. (Reuters)

On a day that seemed like marathon of AGMs, Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani today announced asset sales at three group firms as he addressed shareholders of various group firms one after another.

Ambani, incidentally a running-enthusiast, told the investors that he would offload more stakes in life insurance and mutual fund ventures to Japanese partner Nippon Life and also outlined plans to liquidate non-core financial investments of Reliance Capital including in media sector.

These announcements, along with many others including for tying up with elder brother Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio in the telecom venture, were cheered by the shareholders of all the four companies that held their Annual General Meetings.

Shares of the four companies — Reliance Capital, Reliance Communications, Reliance Infra and Reliance Power — also reacted positively to the plans for unlocking value.

Starting the day with Reliance Capital’s AGM, Ambani announced further stake sales in Reliance Life Insurance and Reliance Asset Management and further steps to lower debt.

At the AGM of Reliance Communications, he announced plans for sale of stake in tower arm Reliance Infratel to an independent company and said there was an “excellent progress” in negotiations with suitors and a deal could be sealed in a month or two.

While Reliance Cap shares gained 2.41 per cent, that of RCOM was up 6.26 per cent — much more than the rise of 1.46 per cent gains in the market benchmark Sensex.

In the case of telecom venture, announcement to merge SSTL/MTS with RCOM, which will offer it access to eight more circles and push up the spectrum it holds in a proposed share-swap, also helped boost the sentiments.

However, Reliance Infra’s AGM did not have any deal announcement although Ambani said that Pipavav acquisition would be completed this fiscal.

At Reliance Power’s AGM, Ambani announced sale of three coal mines in Indonesia and said it would concentrate on coal mining business in India.

The exercise was not aimed at reducing debt but is rather in pursuit of the Union Government’s ‘Make in India’ programme, Ambani said.

“India has ambitious plans of doubling its coal production from 450 million tonne to 900 million tonne. We have also decided to exit the coal business in Indonesia and that transaction we hope to complete in the course of this year,” he said at the AGM which took place after market hours.

Still, Reliance Power shares ended the day with gains of 1.18 per cent.

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