The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mukesh to make up for lost time

Mumbai, June 18: Itís time to get back to business.

Mukesh Ambani will now roll up his sleeves and work towards a bigger presence in the retail markets. He will have to make up for the time lost due to the bitter feud with brother Anil.

ďHe is going to don an aggressive posture as he finetunes strategies to move into other spheres of business, even as he expands the existing ones,Ē a source told The Telegraph.

Mukesh will create new businesses for Reliance Industries and also set up greenfield projects of global scale, the source added.

The new projects could involve setting up retail hyper markets and petroleum bunkers. There are plans to de-bottleneck the existing petrochemical and refinery plants too.

Mukesh has also been talking about value-added products within the petrochemicals segment and is building a huge resource base in the research and development space within the company.

Mukesh hopes to build an R&D outfit that will come up with new patents as fast as Basell and Dupont, sources say.

The differences with his brother had taken up a lot of his time and had slowed him down. Mukesh and his core team were, therefore, keen on an early settlement with Anil.

Sources feel that is the reason Mukesh bartered his stake in Reliance Infocomm. He had built up the business from scratch and it would have been tough to part with it. But he had to bite the bullet finally.

Anil had raised several issues relating to corporate governance and sweat equity, a fact that forced Mukesh to annul the 10 per cent stake he had acquired through stock options in the infocom venture.

Mukesh has a lot to do in the petroleum sector, including laying out a petroleum retail network across the country.

He has grand plans for a foray into retailing and is working on a national chain that could easily surpass the existing players in the business. The move comes at a time when the government is considering a proposal to allow foreign direct investment in the retail segment.

Mukesh is also keen on the life sciences segment. The project is wrapped in secrecy now, but the coming months would surely see some developments in the segment, which has a huge potential for growth.

Close business associate and childhood friend Manoj Modi will help him set up the hyper market business. Modi and Mukesh graduated from the same engineering college in Mumbai.

Modi has already shifted from the Infocomm campus where he was involved in its operations. He helped in building the infocom business to its current stature.

Ashok Mishra, IIT professor and family friend who has joined the RIL board, will help Mukesh finetune his vision and strategy for the future. Cousins Nikhil and Hital are going to be close allies.

Nikhil Meswani will now assist Mukesh, a job Anil did with great aplomb as RILís face, even as Mukesh remained in the background.

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