Mumbai: Reliance Power and sister firm Reliance Natural Resources will consider a merger on Sunday, continuing a spree of activity in companies controlled by billionaire Anil Ambani since the end of a high-profile gas supply dispute with his brother.
Shares in Reliance Power, valued at $8.75 billion, closed up 3.3%, while Reliance Natural shares, with a market capitalisation of $2.3 billion, ended down 1.9% on Friday amid rampant market talk about a deal. The companies both announced a potential deal after the close of trading.
Reliance Natural lost a May ruling by Supreme Court in a long-running gas supply dispute with Reliance Industries, which is controlled by Anil’s elder brother, Mukesh Ambani, who is the world’s fourth-richest man.
The brothers split their late father Dhirubhai’s business empire five years ago after disagreeing over ownership.
Following the Supreme Court verdict, the Ambani brothers took a step towards reconciliation, ending a pact that forbade them from competing with each other, opening up sectors such as power generation, telecom and financials to the elder sibling.
Late last month, Reliance Natural and Reliance Industries said they signed a revised gas supply agreement, but did not disclose details.
Reliance Natural had wanted Reliance Industries to honour a private deal between the brothers, struck when the Reliance empire was split, to supply it with 28 mmscmd of gas for 17 years at $2.34, about half the government-set price.
The apex court ordered the companies to renegotiate the agreement at the government-approved price.
The gas is critical for Anil Ambani’s power business, including projects being built by Reliance Power. Reliance Power went public in early 2008 in a $2.9 billion IPO — India’s biggest -- but has never risen about its issue price..
Both brothers have been active dealmakers in recent months.
Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications, India’s No. 2 cellphone operator, agreed in late June to merge its telecoms towers business with that of GTL Infrastructure and is also looking to sell a 26% stake in itself.
Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries, the country’s biggest listed company, made a dramatic return to telecoms by buying the only company to win nationwide broadband wireless spectrum in a recent government auction.