Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) said the record investments it received from some of the world’s top financial investors that wanted to grab a piece of its digital unit Jio Platforms and a mega share sale helped it become net debt free well ahead of its March 2021 target.
RIL raised more than Rs 168,818 crore in just 58 days through Rs 115,693.95 crore collected from investors in Jio and another Rs 53,124.20 crore from a rights issue. Along with the stake sale to BP in the petro-retail JV, the total fund raise is in excess of ₹ 1.75 lakh crore, the company said in a statement.
"Our net-debt was Rs 161,035 crore, as on March 31, 2020. With these investments, RIL has become net debt-free."
RIL has amassed Rs 115,693.95 crore in exchange for 24.7 percent stake in Jio through the largest uninterrupted fundraising by a company anywhere in the world. The deals, led by a strategic investment of Rs 43,574 crore on April 22 by Facebook for 9.99 percent, followed one after the other in a span of just nine weeks and during a global lockdown at that.
The rights issue, which was subscribed 1.59 times, was not only the largest ever in India, but also the largest in the world by a non-financial entity in the last ten years, RIL said.
“Today I am both delighted and humbled to announce that we have fulfilled our promise to the shareholders by making Reliance net debt-free much before our original schedule of 31st March 2021," said Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of RIL.
"Exceeding the expectations of our shareholders and all other stakeholders, again and yet again, is in the very DNA of Reliance. Therefore, on the proud occasion of becoming a net debt-free company, I wish to assure them that Reliance in its Golden Decade will set even more ambitious growth goals, and achieve them, in fulfilment of the vision of our Founder, Dhirubhai Ambani, to consistently increase our contribution to India’s prosperity and inclusive development.”
On June 18, Saudi Arabia’s PIF, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, said it will invest Rs 11,367 crore for 2.32 percent of Jio Platforms, which runs movie, news and music apps as well as the telecom enterprise Jio Infocomm. Besides Facebook and PIF, General Atlantic, Silver Lake (twice), Vista Equity Partners, KKR, Mubadala Investment Company, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, TPG and L Catterton have lined up to invest in Jio.
PIF’s investment marks the end of Jio Platforms’ current phase of induction of financial partners, according to RIL. Jio could still be open for a strategic investment from a tech powerhouse like Facebook.(Disclosure: Reliance Industries Ltd. is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd)