Addressing the company’s 44th annual general meeting (AGM) virtually, Ambani said that RIL raised a record Rs 3.24 lakh crore in capital from stake sale in units, rights issue and asset monetisation.
“RIL raised $44.4 billion – largest-ever capital raise by any company in a year globally. This capital raise is a strong vote of confidence by global investors in India’s growth potential,” he said.
Here are some key announcements made during the AGM:
Saudi Aramco chairman to join Reliance board
Saudi Aramco chairman and head of the Kingdom’s cash-rich wealth fund PIF Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan will join the board of Reliance Industries Ltd as an independent director in a precursor to a $15 billion deal.
Two years back Ambani had disclosed the talks to sell a 20 per cent stake in the company’s oil-to-chemical unit to Saudi Aramco.
Harvard educated Al-Rumayyan, 51, will replace Yogendra P Trivedi, 92, who has expressed a desire to retire, Ambani said.
On the sale of a 20 per cent stake in the O2C business, he said the deal is likely to conclude this year.
Ambani said RIL is looking forward to “welcoming Saudi Aramco as a strategic partner in our O2C business”.
JioPhone Next to be most affordable smartphone globally
The much-awaited JioPhone Next was also announced by RIL at its AGM. Ambani said that it would be the “most affordable” smartphone in the world.
The phone, jointly developed by RIL and Google, will be available in the market from September 10.
Ambani asserted that an ultra-affordable 4G smartphone is essential to make India ‘2G-mukt’ (free of 2G).
The country still has nearly 300 million mobile users who are unable to escape from inefficient and exorbitant 2G services since most basic 4G smartphone remain unaffordable for users, he added.
Giving details about the phone, he said that JioPhone Next will be powered by an optimised version of Andriod operating system and packs a punch with cutting-edge features including voice assistant, language translation, automatic read-aloud of screen text, and smart camera with augmented reality filters, among others.
The fully-featured smartphone supports the entire gamut of applications from both Google and Jio, as well as Andriod PlayStore through which users will have access to the full universe of Andriod apps.
Rs 75,000 crore investment in clean energy
RIL will invest Rs 75,000 crore in setting up four ‘Giga’ factories to make solar photovoltaic cells, green hydrogen, batteries and fuel cells over the next three years.
“We will invest an additional Rs 15,000 crore in the value chain, partnerships and future technologies, including upstream and downstream industries. Thus, our overall investment in the new energy business will be Rs 75,000 crore in 3 years,” Ambani said.
These four factories will involve an investment of Rs 60,000 crore.
“We will invest an additional Rs 15,000 crore in the value chain, partnerships and future technologies, including upstream and downstream industries. Thus, our overall investment in the new energy business will be Rs 75,000 crore in 3 years,” he added.
Last year, Ambani had announced a 15-year commitment to become net carbon zero by 2035.
3x growth in Reliance Retail
Reliance Retail is on a hyper growth trajectory to grow at least three times in the next three to five years, Ambani said.
Its apparel business, Ajio, sold nearly five lakh units per day and over 18 crore units during 2020-21.
The RIL chief said that Reliance Retail further consolidated its position in consumer electronics and sold 4.5 crore units of electronics last year which translates to over 1.2 lakh units per day.
As India’s largest grocery retailer, Reliance Retail sold over a billion units of groceries or about 30 lakh units per day.
Meanwhile, JioMart registered over 6.5 lakh peak orders in a single day. Ambani said JioMart’s growth is a testament to its already loyal customer base, 80 per cent of whom are repeat shoppers.
The retail segment currently employs over two lakh people, making it one of the largest employers in the country. Over the next three years, it aims to further create employment for over 10 lakh people and enable the livelihoods for more.
Google Cloud-Jio’s 5G partnership
Google will be forging a cloud partnership with Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, helping the country’s biggest wireless carrier with tech solutions for its enterprise and consumer offerings as it plans to launch 5G services, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said at RIL’s AGM.
The tie-up lends Jio the expertise of a global tech giant as it expands digital services to small and medium businesses as well as hundreds of millions of individual customers. And, it gives Google the unmatched scale of Reliance whose new-age businesses range from telecoms to e-commerce.
“It’ll help more than a billion Indians connect to a faster and better internet, support businesses in their digital transformation and help Jio build new services in sectors like health, education and more, laying a foundation for the next phase of India’s digitisation,” Pichai said.
As part of this collaboration, Reliance will shift its core retail businesses to Google Cloud’s infrastructure, enabling the Indian conglomerate to take advantage of Google’s AI and machine learning, e-commerce and demand forecasting offerings.
Largest corporate vaccine drive
Reliance Foundation’s founder and chairperson Nita Ambani said that RIL’s Mission Vaccine Suraksha is one of India’s largest corporate vaccination drives and it aims to vaccinate 20 lakh people, including retired employees, partner company employees, and their families free of cost.
She also talked about how Reliance has contributed to India’s fight against Covid-19.
“India faced an acute shortage of oxygen as soon as Covid cases began to surge earlier this year. Reliance swung into action on a war footing immediately. Traditionally, we have never produced medical-grade liquid oxygen. Yet when the need arose, we repurposed our Jamnagar refinery within days, to produce high-purity medical grade liquid oxygen and, within two weeks, we ramped up production to a massive 1,100 metric tonnes per day,” she said.
She further asserted that RIL did not cut salaries, bonuses, or any other compensation of its employees throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.