Home/ Companies / News/  Reliance arm raises stake in transportation firm SkyTran

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has more than doubled its stake in US-based SkyTran Inc., underscoring the oil-to-retail conglomerate’s ambitious plans for eco-friendly transportation systems.

RIL, controlled by Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, raised its holding in SkyTran to 54.46% from 26.3% on a fully diluted basis for $26.76 million, the Mumbai-based company said in a regulatory filing. The stake is held by RIL’s unit Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Ltd.

SkyTran is a venture-funded developer of pod car transport systems. Pod taxi is a driverless personal rapid transit system, which runs along a predetermined course either through overhead suspension or magnetic levitation.

Founded in 2011, SkyTran aims to solve traffic congestion globally by creating a high-speed, scalable and low-cost transport system. It has partnered with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) in the US and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

RIL first invested in SkyTran in October 2018, taking a 12.7% stake in the company. In November 2019, it raised the stake to 17.37% and in April 2020, to 26.3%.

“Our acquiring a majority equity stake in SkyTran reflects our commitment to investing in building futuristic technologies that would transform the world," said Ambani, RIL’s chairman and managing director.

Mint reported in October 2018 that RIL is scouting for a site for India’s first pod taxi prototype, the next-generation transportation system.

“We firmly believe that non-polluting high speed personal rapid transportation system will help facilitate environmental sustainability through efficient use of alternative energy and make an impactful reduction in air and noise pollution," Ambani said.

Last week, RIL carved out a new unit, oil-to-chemicals (O2C), as part of which it will focus on building an optimal mix of lean and affordable energy comprising solar, wind and batteries. The company said its new energy businesses will invest in carbon capture to convert it into useful chemicals and hydrogen.

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Updated: 28 Feb 2021, 11:43 PM IST
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