Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani celebrates his 66th birthday today. Mukesh Ambani was born on April 19, 1957 in Yemen’s Aden and later moved to India. He was brought up in Mumbai. The business tycoon studied chemical engineering from the University of Bombay before joining his family business, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), in 1981. RIL was founded by his father Dhirubhai Ambani in 1966 (then Reliance Commercial Corporation) as a small textile company. The company later split, with Mukesh Ambani keeping the oil and petrochemical businesses, and his younger brother Anil Ambani taking power and telecom ventures.
Mukesh Ambani has been a regular across billionaire lists. He first entered the Forbes Billionaires List in 2004 with an estimated net worth of $2.9 billion. Ever since, he has been a constant in all of the Forbes Billionaires List and has been constantly ranked as one of the wealthiest people in the world. Mukesh Ambani also has been ranking in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index ever since it was launched in 2012. In October 2007, he topped the global rich list surpassing richies like Bill Gates, Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim Helu and billionaire investor Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway. His wealth was valued at $63.2 billion in 2007. His wealth has been rising largely due to the growth of his conglomerate Reliance Industries which has businesses across verticals including communications, infrastructure, petrochemicals, petroleum refining, and gas & oil exploration, etc.
The most recent Forbes’ 37th Annual World’s Billionaires List which was launched earlier this month, Mukesh Ambani regained spot as Asia’s richest person and world’s ninth richest billionaire. He regained his position as Asia’s richest person after Gautam Adani tumbled to No 24 after the Hindenburg report on the company led to a loss of $80.6 billion in wealth to the entrepreneur. This is despite a considerable fall in the number of billionaires around the world. According to Forbes’ 37th Annual World’s Billionaires List, the number of billionaires around the globe fell from 2,668 in 2022 to 2,640 this year; while the total billionaire wealth fell to $12.2 trillion, down $500 billion from a year ago. Mukesh Ambani’s current net worth is $83.4 billion. Last year, his oil-to-telecom firm Reliance Industries became the first Indian company to surpass $100 billion in revenue.
RIL’s new-found inclination towards consumer focused businesses
Mukesh Ambani had taken over as the Chairman and Managing director of Reliance Industries after the demise of his father, in July 2002 and since then, the conglomerate has achieved strong double-digit growth under his leadership. The market capitalisation of Reliance has risen at an annualised rate of 20.6 per cent in the last 20 years, that is from Rs 41,989 crore in March 2002 to Rs 17.81 lakh crore in March 2022. Earlier last year, during his 45th Annual General Meeting, Mukesh Ambani had announced his succession plans of the company and had handed over the telecom business to elder son Akash Ambani, retail business to daughter Isha Ambani and the new energy unit to younger son Anant Ambani.
Mukesh Ambani has taken the company from textiles, plastics, oil & gas exploration, and refining, to a much stronger focus on the consumer businesses with its inclination towards segments like retail and telecom. The new business focus has been constantly adding to the revenue of the conglomerate. RIL had announced the renewable foray during the previous year’s annual general meeting.
The past decade witnessed the company’s renewed focus on consumer-facing businesses, most notably with the re-entry into telecom through Jio and continuously growing retail business through its presence across formats. Reliance Jio was launched in 2016 and has continued to top the wireless subscribers’ additions for the tenth straight month in January this year. Jio added 1.66 million new wireless subscribers on a net basis in January, according to data by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).
Meanwhile, Reliance Retail’s consolidated net profit in 3QFY23 was up 6.2 per cent year-on-year to Rs 2,400 crore for the quarter ended December on the back of improved sales and margin improvement. Revenue from operations grew 18.6% on-year to Rs 60,096 crore as the retail segment benefitted from improved footfalls, festive season and store expansion. The business vertical has recently also gone all out with its acquisitions across the FMCG segment among others, with the acquisition and re-launch of Campa Cola creating buzz in the market. Earlier last year, Reliance Industries invested Rs 30,000 crore (around USD 3.76 billion) in its retail business and added 2,500 stores, taking the total store count to 15,196 in FY22.