Reliance ADAG Chairman Anil Ambani (Photo: KAMLESH PEDNEKAR)
It’s a good start to the weekend for billionaire Anil Ambani.
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to order a probe into India’s purchase of French warplanes, blunting the opposition Congress party’s allegation that Dassault Aviation SA was forced to pick an Ambani firm as a local partner. Little over an hour later, the Indian government told the court it would approve Reliance Communications Ltd.’s airwaves sale in two days, a deal that Ambani’s indebted operator badly needs to stave off bankruptcy.
The two developments sent shares of Reliance Naval and Engineering Ltd. and Reliance Communications soaring, boosting the market capitalization of five large listed Ambani firms by $68 million on the day.
This is a relief for investors who had seen these stocks lose $4 billion this year through Thursday as the group was dogged by insolvency lawsuits, hurdles to asset sales and allegations of government nepotism. Reliance Naval closed 15.7 per cent higher in Mumbai trading on Friday, while Reliance Communications climbed as much as 7.1 per cent before closing 2.3 per cent higher.
Ambani, younger brother to Asia’s richest person Mukesh Ambani, welcomed the court verdict on the Dassault controversy. It established “the complete falsity of the wild, baseless and politically-motivated allegations leveled against Reliance Group and me personally,” he said in an emailed statement.