RIL offers board seat to Saudi Aramco's Yasir Al-Rumayyan in global push

RIL has offered a board seat to Saudi Aramco Chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan
Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) on Thursday took a step further in its globalisation plans as it offered a board seat to Saudi Aramco Chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan.


Speaking at the 44th annual general meeting (AGM) of RIL, Ambani said Al-Rumayyan “joining our board is also the beginning of internationalisation of Reliance. You will hear more about our international plans in the times to come”.


In addition to his role at Aramco, Al-Rumayyan, who is joining as independent director, is governor of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund with a 2.32 per cent stake in Jio Platforms.


According to company officials in the know, Ambani’s internationalisation push will hinge on maximising gains from the partnership with Aramco and the technological solutions that RIL can offer as it explores areas in the energy businesses.


In addition to playing a key role at Aramco and in Saudi Arabia’s investment vehicles, Al-Rumayyan is on the board of multiple international majors. These include British semiconductor and software design company Arm Holdings, American ride-sharing behemoth Uber Technologies, and Japanese conglomerate SoftBank group. The board seats held by Al-Rumayyan reflect the investment made by the PIF and its arms in these companies.


At RIL, he will replace 92-year-old Y P Trivedi, who is retiring after a long stint.


Announcing the appointment, Ambani said: “We look forward to welcoming Saudi Aramco as a strategic partner in our oil to chemicals (O2C) business. I expect our partnership to be formalised in an expeditious manner during this year,” setting a timeline for the much-anticipated investment by Aramco in RIL’s O2C business.


In June 2020, the PIF had invested Rs 11,367 crore for a 2.32 per cent stake in Jio Platforms. Besides Aramco and the PIF, global tech giants Google, Facebook and, Microsoft are also collaborating in the company’s push towards digital dominance in India.


In his speech, Ambani also offered Jio’s home-grown and comprehensive 5G solutions to the world.


“Once Jio’s 5G solution is proven at India scale, we are excited by the prospect of exporting Jio 5G solutions to other telecom operators across the world,” he said.


It’s not that RIL is entirely an India-centric company. After selling most of the assets, it still holds a 45 per cent working interest (WI) partnership with Ensign Natural Resources in the Eagle Ford shale play and a 40 per cent WI partnership with Chevron. Both these assets are in the United States.


RIL’s O2C business also has a significant export-oriented approach.


The company’s 2020-21 Annual Report noted that the impact of a fall in domestic demand during Covid-19 lockdown months was mitigated through higher exports by the company.


At about Rs 1.45 trillion ($19.9 billion), it is India's largest exporter, accounting for 6.8 per cent of India’s merchandise exports to 107 countries.

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