Reliance to invest $18bn for expansion in 5 years
MUMBAI INDIA’S largest private company, Reliance Industries, said on Thursday will invest $18 billion over the next four to five years to expand in the country and more than double operating profit.
Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, also told the firm’s annual general meeting in Mumbai that he had faith the nation’s economy, which is struggling with slow growth and high inflation, would beat its woes to “emerge stronger”.
“The current difficulties faced by the Indian economy in my belief are temporary,” he said. Energy giant Reliance in April said consolidated net profit fell 21.2 percent to 42.36 billion rupees ($830 million) in the three months ended March, from 53.76 billion rupees a year before.
The firm blamed the weak results on declining output from its offshore gas fields.
And last month, India’s oil minister said production from the Reliance’s main gas fields was expected to fall to a record low. However, while announcing the 1 trillion rupee ($18 billion) investment move Ambani told the AGM the firm planned to achieve production of 60 million cubic metres of gas a day at the fields in the next three to four years.
Reliance has held talks with India’s upstream regulator about how to lift production, seen as vital both for the company and to fuel the country’s economic growth. In other business, Ambani said plans to offer nationwide digital services were being finalised, while retail would be an important growth engine in the coming years.
Shares in the Reliance rose 1.60 percent to 725.50 points on the benchmark 30-share Sensex after the AGM.
However, the firm’s stock, which lost 30 percent in 2011, continues to underperform the index this year.