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Google stake in Jio, 5G plans: How brokerages interpreted RIL's 43rd AGM

RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani
After a stupendous up move since March 2020 lows that more-than-doubled the Reliance Industries’ stock and took it past the Rs 1,900 mark on Wednesday and its market-capitalisation above the Rs 12 trillion mark, the rally seems to be fizzling out after the 43rd annual general meeting (AGM) of the company. The counter ended nearly 4 per cent lower on Wednesday and is trading with a modest gain of 0.4 per cent at Rs 1,850 levels as compared to 0.6 per cent gain in the S&P BSE Sensex on Thursday.

Giving a sense of the cutting edge technology from the RIL stable, Mukesh Ambani said in the company’s 43rd AGM on Wednesday that homegrown 5G solutions would be available for trials as soon as spectrum was given out. It could be ready for field deployment next year. That apart, Google picked up 7.7 per cent stake in the company for Rs 33,737 crore. However, the deal with Saudi Aramco for its oil-to-chemicals (O2C) business segment has not yet fructified, which seems to worry the markets.

Here's how leading brokerages have interpreted the statements.

Nomura

We think the key disappointment was the likely delay in equity investment by Saudi Aramco to take a 20% stake in the oil to chemicals (O2C) business due to unforeseen circumstances in the energy markets and the COVID-19 pandemic.

With substantial funds raised, RIL’s equity requirements have already been met. That being said, it seems committed to a long-term partnership with Aramco. To facilitate this partnership, RIL plans to approach the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to spin off the O2C into a separate subsidiary and expects to complete this process by early 2021.

We use a SOTP valuation to value RIL’s different businesses. For its refining / petchem businesses, we use 7x / 8x FY22F EV/EBITDA. We use DCF to value the E&P business (discounted back to Mar-22). We assign 9x FY22 EV/EBITDA for RIL’s 90% stake in R-Jio and 22x FY22F EV/EBITDA multiple to Reliance Retail. We reaffirm our Buy rating and target price of Rs 1,900. The stock currently trades at 9.9x FY22F EV/EBIT.

Jefferies

Reliance Jio's emphasis on 5G and driving subscribers away from the 2G network indicate a shift in strategy from price-led differentiation to service-led differentiation. This bodes well for the sector's pricing environment.

While we expect 5G spectrum to be auctioned next year with operators only buying it the year after that to lower its exorbitant $7 billion price, Reliance's move on 5G could result in an earlier than expected 5G capex cycle, which would impact the FCF and ROCE profile of the sector, but accelerate market share shifts towards companies with stronger balance sheets. We maintain BUY on Bharti Airtel.

Edelweiss Research

We do not believe affordability is the real issue for smartphone adoption and that a cheaper smartphone alone would not crack the nut. Separately, the company announced it has developed a complete 5G solution, which would be ready for field deployment next year. RJIO also plans to export this solution once it is proven at India-scale. We expect large scale commercial 5G launch by operators by 2024–25, and advancement to the next one – two years is likely to entail significant capex, which can be negative for the sector. Watch out for the 5G rollout timelines. Retain ‘BUY’ on Bharti Airtel and Bharti Infratel with target prices of Rs 712 and Rs 235, respectively, and ‘REDUCE’ on Vodafone Idea with a target price of Rs 9.

Antique Stock Broking

RIL is not only developing JIO platforms as an independent vector but also exploring cross-function synergies with its other consumer-facing vertical i.e. Reliance Retail, which in itself is also growing at a rapid pace. In light of the above we feel compelled to raise our valuation multiples for JIO Platforms and Reliance Retail in our SOTP, thereby revising our target price to Rs 1,960/share (from Rs 1,600/share), even as we maintain our BUY rating on the stock.



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