Mukesh Ambani succession, spinoffs in focus at Reliance’s shareholder meeting


Mukesh Ambani’s once-a-year speech to investors has over time evolved into an eagerly-awaited pronouncement on his $222 billion empire akin to Warren Buffett’s annual letters to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.

This year, 

Reliance Industries Ltd NSE -0.53 %.’s investors will be looking for insight on Monday around the company’s 5G rollout, how he plans to unlock the value of his telecom and retail units through separate listings, and when and how his children will take over the reins.

Anticipation is high as the 65-year-old billionaire, who built 

Reliance NSE -0.53 % into India’s largest company by market value and a powerhouse conglomerate, has used the speech for a series of big announcements. These include the launch of his disruptive telecom service in 2016, Saudi Arabian Oil Co.’s proposed investment in Reliance’s energy business in 2019 and a strategic shift to green energy last year.

This year’s shareholder meeting comes as the refining-to-retail group faces the twin challenges of a global recession and the blistering rise of Gautam Adani, who eclipsed Ambani as Asia’s richest man earlier this year and is emerging as an alternative power center on the corporate landscape.

Reliance investors will have in mind how Adani’s conglomerate split its business into different listings years ago, unlocking value, and will expect “clarity and specific time lines for the next big things” from Ambani’s more-centralized holdings, Kranthi Bathini, equity strategist at WealthMills Securities Pvt Ltd. in Mumbai. Adani’s wealth has surged $58 billion this year riding the stocks rally compared to $3.3 billion rise in Ambani’s.

Here’s where investors are expecting news:

The patriarch signaled that succession planning atop Reliance will be expedited in last year’s shareholder meet and reiterated it explicitly in December. His three children — daughter Isha and sons Akash and Anant — are already holding various directorships in the group’s unlisted firms and are becoming more visible in their leadership.

Ambani stepped down as the chairman of Reliance Jio 

Infocomm Ltd in June, making way for his elder son, Akash, who took over the helm at India’s largest wireless operator. As rumors keep swirling around Ambani’s health, investors will look for more concrete steps to be taken in leadership transition, with Isha, Anant and possibly his wife, Nita, taking on more responsibility.


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