RIL, 'India's biggest asset creator', plans 1.8 lakh cr capex: Ambani

Mukesh AmbaniAddressing the 40th annual general meeting of Reliance Industries Ltd in Mumbai today, its chairman Mukesh Ambani said RIL would invest Rs1.8 lakh crore ($15 billion) over the next three years in its various businesses. This is up from his commitment of Rs1.5 lakh crore in the previous AGM.

India's third-largest conglomerate by market capitalisation, RIL is closely tracked by investors because its shares are widely owned.

Ambani began his address by evoking his father Dhirubhai Ambani, one of India's most noted rags-to-riches entrepreneurs. "I am pursuing my father's dream more strongly today," he said.

Reliance has been one of the biggest asset creators in India over two decades, he told shareholders, adding that the company "has been the largest creator of assets in India in the past 20 years" and the next three years will be crucial.

Significantly, he announced his wife Nita Ambani's induction into the company's Board.

Another major announcement was that telecom subsidiary Reliance Jio's 4G LTE field trial service will begin in August 2014, and commercial services will be launched in a phase manner in 2015.

He said it is a Rs70,000-crore investment and will cover 5,000 towns and 2.5 lakh villages initially.

"In the first 30 years, Reliance built three globally competitive businesses – petrochemicals, refining and marketing, and oil and gas. We are currently at the mid-point of the largest investment programme in Reliance's history," he added.

He made an opaque reference to the allegations hurled by Aam Admi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal last year against the company. "Reliance saw several false allegations, half-lies last year. We have weathered ill-informed campaigns and have put the facts on social media for everyone to see," he said.

Ambani said he was 'proud' of the fact that RIL is highest tax payer in the private sector in the country and that it pays 4.7 per cent of India's total indirect tax collection.

He said the petrochemical business will get the highest allocation of capital.

He claimed that Reliance currently accounts for 14.7 per cent of total exports from India.

Reliance Retail, RIL's retail arm, is India's largest retailer in terms of revenue and added 367 new stores in FY14, Ambani informed shareholders. He said that RIL's focus in FY15 and FY16 will be on retail, petrochemical and telecom investments.