In talks with RIL, Tatas for investment: Kenya PM

In talks with RIL, Tatas for investment: Kenya PM

Kenya’s government is in negotiations with Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), India’s biggest company by market value, and the Tata group for possible investments in the African country, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said.

“RIL and Tata groups are interested," Odinga said in an interview at the World Economic Forum’s India economic summit in New Delhi on Tuesday.

“We see a new group of Indian multinationals taking interest not only in Kenya, but the rest of Africa," he said.

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RIL, owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, has $6.5 billion (around 29,400 crore) in cash to use in buying energy assets overseas as natural gas output from its biggest deposit in India stagnates.

Tata group chairman Ratan Tata has made 66 acquisitions in two decades.

RIL is looking at investing in oil exploration in Kenya, Odinga said.

Manoj Warrier, a spokesman for RIL, declined to comment. Raman Dhawan, managing director of Tata Africa Holdings, couldn’t immediately be reached at his office in Johannesburg.

RIL bought three shale-gas assets in the US this year. The Mumbai-based explorer and oil refiner paid $943 million for the three assets and agreed to spend $2.5 billion in future drilling costs on behalf of its partners.

The company had 29,350 crore in cash and equivalent and outstanding debt was 68,200 crore as of 30 September, according to an 30 October statement.

Cnooc Ltd, China’s biggest offshore energy explorer, has told the Kenyan government it plans to drop licences to search for oil and gas in two Kenyan blocks by December, mines and energy ministry permanent secretary Patrick Nyoike had said on 21 October. Cnooc is interested in working with Tullow Oil Plc. and Africa Oil Corp. to explore five other blocks, Nyoike had said then.

RIL, owner of the world’s biggest refining complex, bought fuel retailer Gulf Africa Petroleum Corp. to enter the African market in September 2007. Gulf Africa Petroleum retails fuel in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.

Tata group’s businesses in Africa include automobiles, phone services and a hotel.

Rakteem Katakey contributed to this story.