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Since 1st March, 1999
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Anil springs parting surprise for brother

Mumbai, Aug. 3: Anil Ambani shook the Reliance empire once again today.

Hours after the annual general meeting of Reliance Industries, Anil unilaterally announced share swap ratios for the de-merger of his companies from the Rs 100,000-crore empire father Dhirubhai had built.

De-merger will mean the final break from what has so far been known as the Reliance group and Anil will have his own, independent empire ' or, “new Reliance”, as he called it.

Speaking in the basement cafeteria of his headquarters at Reliance Centre in Ballard Estate, Anil spelt out the number of shares (see chart) each Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) shareholder would receive in Reliance Capital and Reliance Energy, companies that have come to him in the split with brother Mukesh.

They will also get shares in Global Fuel Management Services and Reliance Communication Ventures he would create. Both will be listed on stock exchanges.

Once the de-merger is complete, RIL as an entity will cease to have an interest in Anil’s companies.

Anil’s revelation flew in the face of Mukesh’s statement at the shareholders’ meeting. “Once the detailed proposal is approved by the board, we will meet once again for your approval as part of the court-determined process.”

He said five advisers had been chosen for the de-merger plan, but did not mention anything about share swap ratios.

An RIL spokesman refused to confirm the formula for the de-merger that had been initiated after the June 18 settlement between the brothers.

“What do you want us to say'” asked an official. “It’s a simple arithmetical calculation and not rocket science.”

The board would have preferred to clear all formalities and then make the announcement, the official added.

Anil said the swap ratios were “based on fairness and transparency”.

“What I have shown today is the real structure. They (the advisers) will work towards the structure.”

Asked why RIL had not announced the plan at the shareholders’ meeting, he said: “It’s a good question to ask them.”

He said the de-merger would be completed by March 31, 2006. “The approvals and the formalities will take 90 to 120 days,” he added.

The dramatic revelation appeared to overshadow Mukesh’s announcement of RIL’s plans to invest close to Rs 50,000 crore in oil refining and petrochemicals. Of this, Rs 25,000 crore will be invested in the Jamnagar refinery to double its capacity to 60 million tonnes a year, making it the world’s largest oil refining facility at a single location.

Anil attended the RIL meeting as an ordinary shareholder and made an emotional speech. “I am leaving this organisation with a deep sense of personal loss' As I leave I request you to create a little space in your heart for Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Enterprises (the name of his group).”

RIL’s 23 lakh shareholders will automatically become shareholders of his companies as well and Anil was reaching out to them even as he was leaving the company that had been the “cradle of his corporate life”.

“I look forward to receiving from Mukesh his love, affection, guidance and advice. I hope I will receive it,” he added.

He said his mother Kokilaben had given birth to him twice ' on June 4, 1959, and again on June 18, 2005 (the day the announcement to divide the group was made) ' and he was looking at the future “with great confidence, enthusiasm and inspiration”.

It’s clear from today’s development that Anil is in a hurry to wrap up the de-merger. His group will be the third largest business house in India in terms of net worth after the Tatas and Mukesh Ambani.

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