RIL’s 43rd AGM: 24×7 chatbot, WhatsApp helpline for shareholders; Saudi Aramco deal update eyed

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Updated: Jul 14, 2020 12:13 PM

Investors are waiting to get updates and outlook on RIL’s various businesses, ranging from the traditional petrochemicals and oil & gas, to the modern digital services and e-commerce

RIL, RIL AGM, Mukesh AmbaniReliance has promised that over one lakh shareholders from 500 locations can log into the event simultaneously to listen to the plans and initiatives

Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd will hold its 43rd annual general meeting of shareholders tomorrow, on 15 July, through video conferencing or other audio-visual means (OAVM), in the wake of fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic. RIL has said that its first virtual AGM will be a bigger affair than its past shareholder meetings. The company promised that over one lakh shareholders from 500 locations can log into the event simultaneously to listen to the plans and initiatives. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has allowed to hold AGMs through video conferences or OAVM without the physical presence of members at a common venue.

RIL has launched a digital virtual assistant (chatbot service) via WhatsApp number +91-79771-11111 where it will help people with general FAQs, virtual AGM, voting, dividend & taxation, important links or documents and FAQ videos. The virtual AGM will start at 2 PM on Wednesday. A chatbot works as a 24×7 help desk, but this one can handle 50,000 queries simultaneously via conversational text and video, PTI reported citing sources. It also added that the upcoming AGM will showcase multiple firsts on a real-time basis — including a two-way live streaming and a brand-new virtual platform that enables more than 1 lakh shareholders from 500 locations, in India and overseas, to log in simultaneously.

Investors are waiting to get updates and outlook on RIL’s various businesses, ranging from the traditional petrochemicals and oil & gas, to the modern digital services and e-commerce. “We expect further updates on strategic partnership with Saudi Aramco deal from RIL AGM scheduled on 15 July 2020. The deal has the potential to reduce gross debt further by Rs 1.15 trillion,” Axis Capital said in a research report. RIL, in its last AGM, had announced that it had signed an MoU with Saudi Aramco for partnership in the ‘oil-to-chemicals’ business. Saudi Aramco has entered into an agreement with Chevron Lummus for commercialization of its patented technology, which offers as high as 72% conversion to chemicals. “It appears that RIL’s MoU with Saudi Aramco is also driven by the same thirst for higher chemical conversion. Others like ExxonMobil and Shell have also taken strides in the same field,” said Motilal Oswal Financial Services in a report.

“We may see the acquisition of Future retail group by Reliance Industries; final road map or conclusion of Saudi Aramco 20% stake purchase in RIL’s oil to chemical business at a valuation of $15bn, and likely announcement of Microsoft or Google acquiring 5% to 10% stakes in Jio Platform,” said Arjun Yash Mahajan, Head- Institutional business at Reliance Securities.

In his 42nd AGM earlier last year, RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani announced a roadmap for Reliance to become a net-debt free company before March 31, 2021. With 13 investments since April this year and mega rights issue of Rs 53,124 crore, Reliance Industries Ltd has become net debt-free nine months ahead of its deadline. So far, it has bagged a total of Rs 1.18 lakh crore from global investors including Facebook, Silver Lake, General Atlantic, Intel Capital, and Qualcomm Ventures, in exchange of 25.24 per cent equity stake in Jio Platforms. Last year, the company had also announced its plans to sell a $15 billion stake in its group’s oil-to-chemical business to Saudi Arabian Oil Co.

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