Will the Chairman of Saudi Aramco join RIL's board? Wait for mega AGM

Photo: Shutterstock

Saudi Aramco Chairman and Governor of the Kingdom’s wealth fund — Public Investment Fund (PIF) — Yasir Al-Rumayyan may be inducted on the board of Reliance Industries (RIL). This is a precursor to a $15-billion deal, said reports.

 

 An announcement of Al-Rumayyan’s induction on the RIL board or the board of the newly carved oil-to-chemical (O2C) unit may come as early June 24 at the company’s annual shareholder meeting.

 

“RIL’s annual general meeting (AGM) has historically been a keenly watched event (previously attended by 3,000 shareholders when held in physical format and last year saw 300,000 concurrent viewers of the virtual AGM across 42 countries and 468 cities), given that it has been one of the top 3 companies by market capitalisation in India, has a large free float, and a large public shareholding (more than 3 million non-institutional shareholders),” brokerage HSBC Global Research said in a report. Expectations are already built up for the AGM.

 

 “Over the past year, new investors have joined RIL’s digital and retail business at a subsidiary level and RIL has formed new partnerships with global players like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Qualcomm, etc. Investors now expect RIL to give direction to these businesses and announce ground-breaking products,” it said, adding reports suggest it will likely announce a new smartphone partnered with Google and its pricing.

 

“There is also expectation of some update on Saudi Aramco deal and speculation that the chairman of Saudi Aramco may join RIL’s board,” it said.

 

 Both RIL and Saudi Aramco did not reply to emails sent for comments. An email sent to PIF, too, remained unanswered. PIF has already picked up minority stake in Reliance Retail and Jio.

 

 

 Billionaire Mukesh Ambani had in August 2019 announced talks for the sale of 20 per cent stake in the O2C business, which comprises its twin oil refineries at Jamnagar in Gujarat and petrochemical assets, to the world’s largest oil exporter.

 

 The deal was to conclude by March 2020, but has been delayed for reasons not disclosed by either company.

 

 Talks have revived this year and the two are reportedly discussing a cash and share deal — Aramco paying for the stake with its shares initially and then staggered cash payments over several years.

 

 In a separate report, BofA Securities said RIL’s AGM each year has turned into a key event where Ambani provides more information on the outlook of key business divisions.

 

 

“Historically we have seen major announcements on phones, tariffs, stake-sales, etc,” it said.

 

The deal to sell stake in the O2C business to Aramco, too, was announced at RIL AGM in 2019.

 

 “We expect an update on Jio-Google phone features (like 5G), potential pricing, and timeline,” it added.

 

 Clarity on JioMart/other online commerce businesses, along with the JioMart-WhatsApp integration, is also expected.

 

 Reports suggest RIL may announce the appointment of Al-Rumayyan on its board at the AGM, it said.

 

 RIL may introduce a new affordable laptop to tap into the massive demand for work-from-home machines.

 

 Besides refineries and petrochemical plants, the O2C business also comprises 51 per cent stake in the fuel retailing business. It, however, does not include the upstream oil and gas producing assets, such as the flagging KG-D6 block in the Bay of Bengal.

 

 RIL had in 2019 ascribed $75 billion as the value of the O2C business after signing a non-binding letter of intent with Saudi Aramco.

 

 The firm had recently announced carving out the O2C business as a separate subsidiary to support strategic partnerships and new investors to accelerate its new energy and material plans.

 

 Digital business is already held by subsidiary Jio Platforms and Reliance Retail holds the offline and online retail business.

 

 Aramco buying 20 per cent in the O2C business will allow RIL to build financial muscle as it carves out space for itself in a highly competitive omnichannel retail.

 

 

Aramco not only has stake in one of the world’s best refineries and largest integrated petrochemical complex. It also has access to one of the fastest-growing markets, a ready-made market for 500,000 barrels per day of its Arabian crude, and offering a potentially bigger downstream role in the future.

 

 RIL’s refineries are one of the most complex in the world, allowing it to earn a significant premium to the benchmark Singapore gross refining margin. Its petrochemical complexes rank among the biggest in the world, whose dependency on outside raw materials is minimal.

 

It has leadership positions both in the domestic polymer and polyester markets.

 


(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel