RIL: Richest Indian heads India's most valuable company

Last week was a momentous one for Reliance Industries, the largest Indian private sector enterprise, and its chairman Mukesh Ambani when RIL overtook PSU behemoth ONGC to become the most valuable domestic company. In the bargain Mukesh Ambani became the richest resident Indian ahead of Wipro chairman Azim Premji – who has been holding that distinction for quite some time.

Market capitalisation of RIL crossed Rs1.66 lakh crore towards the end of last week and the stock has hit a new lifetime high in early trades today. Despite the threat to gross refining margins because of lower crude oil prices, analysts are expecting good second quarter results from the company.

The markets are excited about the launch of retail operations by RIL, expected shortly. There is also some talk of a de-merger of its oil and gas assets into a separate company and the induction of Chevron as a strategic partner for that business.

ONGC, which has been the most valuable company for the last many years, has under-performed over the last few months. The company's market capitalisation stood at Rs1.65 lakh crore as of last Friday. Lower crude oil prices have dampened the sentiment, though it would help bring down the retail fuel subsidy share for ONGC. The company's market capitalisation had touched Rs2 lakh crore early this year when the stock moved above Rs1,500 per share. RIL's reign at the top would be short-lived if ONGC moves back to its lifetime highs.

Mukesh Ambani is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the market rally over the last couple of months. Aggregate market capitalisation of RIL and group companies like Reliance Petroleum and IPCL has crossed the Rs2 lakh mark. His personal net worth, from his holdings in RIL and other group companies, has crossed Rs70,000 crore. That makes him the richest resident Indian - Lakhsmi Mittal is a non-resident – ahead of Azim Premji whose holdings in Wipro are valued at around Rs65,000 crore.

The Reliance split has benefited the Ambani brothers and shareholders alike. Aggregate market cap of Anil Ambani controlled R-ADAG companies like Reliance Communications, Reliance Energy and Reliance Capital has crossed Rs1 lakh crore. Reliance Communications has been one of the best performers in the recent rally and is currently valued at over Rs75,000 crore. Anil Ambani is now the third richest resident Indian behind Mukesh Ambani and Azim Premji.

Recent weeks have seen some changes in the list of most valuable domestic companies. The tech rally has helped both Infosys and TCS to move past NTPC to third and fourth places respectively. While Infosys had a market cap of Rs1.16 lakh crore, TCS was valued at Rs1.08 lakh crore on Friday. NTPC comes fifth with a market cap of Rs1.07 lakh crore.

Aggregate market capitalisation of all listed companies on the BSE was Rs33 lakh crore as of last Friday.