Lucknow: The business tycoon of India and Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani has added a whopping $17 billion to his wealth by December 23. Now this has taken his net worth to about $61 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The surge in Mukesh Ambani’s fortune this year was fueled with a steep jump in the shares of Reliance Industries Ltd. The rally in the stock is more than double the gains for India’s benchmark S&P BSE Sensex index during the period.
Investors are piling money on Reliance, betting newer businesses such as telecommunications and retail could soon unlock value.
With a goal of building a local e-commerce giant to challenge the likes of Amazon.com Inc. in India, Mr Ambani has spent almost $50 billion — mostly debt — on a wireless carrier that’s become India’s No. 1 within three years of debut.
According to the Chakri Lokapriya, chief investment officer at TCG Asset Management, “Mukesh Ambani changed the narrative for Reliance Industries” as a leader not just in oil and gas but also in telecom and retail, and possibly soon in e-commerce as well.
“He successfully identified, invested and executed rapidly to create this new narrative,” Lokapriya said. “We believe this can potentially double shareholder value over the next four years.”
The newer businesses are likely to contribute 50% of Reliance’s earnings in a few years, from about 32% now, Mr Ambani said in August. A representative for Reliance didn’t reply to an email seeking comment on Mr Ambani’s wealth.
Meanwhile, RIL’s new ventures are expected to contribute 50 per cent of Reliance’s earnings over the next few years, as compared to 32 per cent now, said Ambani back in August.
Another factor that has helped Reliance’s rapid climb on the stock market is Ambani’s plan to bring the company’s net debt to zero.
Ambani had announced plans to pare the group’s net debt to zero by early 2021. There are several plans that are already in the pipeline for achieving zero net debt.
A stake-sale in Reliance’s oil-to-chemicals business to Saudi Arabian Oil Company, listings of the telecom and retail units in the next five years and sale of tower and strategic partners for a digital platform linked to Reliance Jio Infocomm are some of the plans, said the report.
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