RIL announces bonus issue, first in eight years
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Mumbai: Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani announced a 1:1 bonus issue for shareholders on Friday, outlined plans to invest in renewable energy and said the conglomerate will target higher profits from its consumer businesses.
“The golden decade of Reliance has begun,” Ambani said at the 40th annual general meeting of RIL in Mumbai.
This is only the third time the energy giant, which also has interests in retail and telecom, has announced a bonus issue since listing in 1997. It offered 1:1 bonus shares in 1997 and 2009. Prior to that, in 1983, shareholders received three shares for every five they held. RIL’s stock closed the day up 3.76% at Rs1,586.20 on the BSE.
Ambani said the company had invested Rs3.3 trillion in the last five years, with Rs2 trillion going to digital services and the rest to the energy and material business.
Ambani said the company plans to invest in renewable sources of energy, without specifying targets or timelines.
“We will invest in new materials which will have dramatic and multiple new applications,” he said.
Among other plans, Ambani said he had set his consumer businesses a target of achieving profitability similar to RIL’s energy and materials business within the coming decade.
The refining segment had an earnings before interest and tax (Ebit) margin of 10% in the last fiscal year and the petrochemical segment 14%. In comparison, the retail segment had an Ebit margin of 2.3%.
“In the next decade, consumption spending in India will grow four times and organized retail 6-8 times. We will continuously expand Reliance Retail’s geographic spread and fulfilment capability,” Ambani said. RIL plans to scale up its network of stores rapidly over the next 12 months to penetrate into Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.
Ambani said RIL plans to reach Rs1 trillion in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, an indicator of operating profitability, within “the next few years”.
“We also were expecting the low-down on how Ambani plans to monetize Jio better and pay off the debt RIL has piled up due to its foray in telecom,” said an analyst with a domestic brokerage on the condition of anonymity.
Although Ambani announced ambitious plans for telecom unit Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, he didn’t mention any debt-reduction plans on Friday. RIL had consolidated debt of Rs1.97 trillion at the end of FY17.