Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani made several landmark announcements while addressing the shareholders at the 42nd Annual General Meeting of the company. He presented a future roadmap of the company across several sectors such as oil, telecom, software, retail etc.
The biggest announcement defying all the talk of economic slowdown was the announcement of India’s largest foreign direct investment deal ever. Mukesh Ambani informed that Saudi Aramco will acquire a 20% stack in the oil-to-chemicals (OTC) division of Reliance Industries at an enterprise valuation of $75 billion. Aramco also signed a long-term supply agreement with RIL, and will supply 5,00,000 barrels of crude oil per day to Reliance’s Jamnagar Refinery. Saudi Aramco is one of the largest oil companies by revenue in the world, and is estimated to be most profitable company.
Reliance will create a special purpose vehicle comprising of the twin refineries in Jamnagar and its petrochemical business, where Aramco will pick up 20% stack.
The Reliance Chairman also announced the much-awaited commercial launch of the Jio Fiber service, the wired broadband service of Jio, which will be launched on 5th September. He said that minimum speed on the fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) service will be 100 mbps, and it will go upto 1 gbps. He mentioned that the minimum speed is higher than the average broadband speed in the US at 90 mbps. The tariff for Jio Fibre will range from ₹700 to ₹10000 per month. Apart from broadband internet, Jio Fibre will offer free voice calls to any Indian mobile and fixed-line operator, while unlimited internet calling to US and Canada will be available at ₹500 per month.
Jio fibre services will be bundled with Jio HomeTV service. Mukesh Ambani also announced that those consumers who subscribe to Jio Forever Plans, the long-term annual plans of Jiio Fibre, will get an HD/4K LED TV and a 4K set-top box free as a welcome offer. Complete detail of tariff and terms and conditions of the service will be announced on 5th September. Jio Fibre was announced in August last year and at present, it is available as a preview service in select cities. Mukesh Ambani informed that the Jio wireless service is already 4G+, and it is ready for 5G services.
He also introduced a disruptive service in the entertainment sector, Jio First Day First Show. Under this service, new movies will be available on Jio TV on the same day they are released on theatres.
Reliance also announced several enterprise services and announced a tie-up with tech giant Microsoft in this regard. Jio and Microsoft will set up new cloud data centres in India, and both will jointly offer Microsoft’s flagship Office 365 service to enterprise customers, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said via video conference during the RIL AGM. Microsoft will bring its Azure Cloud platform to Jio Network. “Together, we will offer a comprehensive technology solution from compute to storage to connectivity and productivity for small and medium size businesses everywhere in the country”, Nadella said. He added that the partnership will launch new data centres in India.
Mukesh Ambani said that that the company will support startups by offering cloud technology and connectivity for free. 80% of investments by start-ups go into cloud solutions, Jio will provide that connectivity free to all start-ups in India, he said. Startups will be able to sign up on Reliance Jio website to avails this service. He also informed that Jio will offer connectivity plus application services to small and medium businesses at ₹1,500 per month, which is one-tenth of the current market rate.
Talking about the retail business of Reliance, Mukesh Amani announced the launch of New Commerce, and retail partnership platform. New Commerce will transform unorganised retail into organised retail, and it is meant to revolutionise 3 crore kirana stores in India. He said that percent point of sale solution is integral to Reliance Retail’s business strategy, which is a $700 billion business opportunity.
Making an important announcement, Mukesh Ambani said that he supports PM Narendra Modi’s call to develop Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, and the company is ready to help people in these regions in all their developmental needs. He informed Reliance will announce developmental initiatives for the region in the coming months.
Mukesh Ambani presented an ambitious future of the company, saying he is confident of growing at 15% per year over the next 5 years. He also said that RIL has set a target to be a zero debt company within the next 18 months, and Jio and Retail will be listed within the next 5 years.