Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries steps up to trim debt, mulls Rs 7500 cr Asian Paints stake sale

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Published: May 8, 2020 11:24:57 AM

Reliance Industries controlled by Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest person, is in discussions with banks for a potential sale of its 4.9% stake in Asian Paints Ltd. through a series of block trades.

RIL, Asian Paints, mukesh ambaniReliance’s 4.9% stake in the paint maker is worth about 74.9 billion rupees ($989 million), based on the last price. Image: Reuters

Reliance Industries Ltd. is considering selling its stake in India’s largest paint maker valued at about $989 million as the conglomerate steps up efforts to trim its debt, said people familiar with the matter. The company controlled by Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest person, is in discussions with banks for a potential sale of its 4.9% stake in Asian Paints Ltd. through a series of block trades, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is not public. Reliance holds the stake through Teesta Retail Pvt.

The size and timing of any potential sale haven’t been finalized, and Reliance could decide not to proceed with a deal, the people said. A spokesman for Reliance declined to comment when contacted prior to publication. Later Thursday, the company said in a statement they “firmly deny this development,” without elaborating.

Shares of Asian Paints closed 1% lower at 1,594.3 rupees on Thursday in Mumbai. Reliance’s 4.9% stake in the paint maker is worth about 74.9 billion rupees ($989 million), based on the last price.

A stake sale would be the latest in a string of fundraising plans unveiled by Reliance in order to bolster investor confidence, even as the crash in oil prices pulled down profit at the company’s oil-to-chemicals business. Last month, Reliance said that the group’s net debt would be slashed to zero ahead of its previous target of early 2021.

Reliance announced on April 30 that it plans to raise about 531 billion rupees in a rights offer. The decision came days after Facebook Inc. said it would pay $5.7 billion to buy a 10% stake in Jio Platforms, Reliance’s digital arm. Private-equity firm Silver Lake Partners will also invest about $753 million in the unit, the company said on Monday.

Asian Paints is India’s largest paint maker by market cap. It was founded in 1942 and operates in 15 countries with 26 paint manufacturing facilities globally, according to its website. The company announced May 1 that it would launch a range of hand and surface sanitizing products in order to support the government’s coronavirus relief efforts.

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