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Boost for RIL debt-free goal

RIL needs more asset sales, including investors for its fibre undertaking
Analysts feel RIL is on course to realise this target, though it will have to come up with more asset sales that include bringing in investors for its fibre undertaking. RIL had a net debt of Rs 1.53 trillion during the December quarter of 2019.

Our Special Correspondent   |   Mumbai   |   Published 22.04.20, 10:54 PM

The $5.7-billion transaction between Reliance Industries and Facebook has reignited optimism about the oil-to-telecom giant turning net debt free by March 2021.

Analysts feel RIL is on course to realise this target, though it will have to come up with more asset sales that include bringing in investors for its fibre undertaking.

However, following Wednesday’s deal with Facebook, the possibility of the proposed $15-billion tieup with Saudi Aramco getting delayed further has gained ground.

The possibility of RIL monetising more assets within its digital services portfolio following the induction of Facebook in Jio Platforms is not being ruled out.

RIL had a net debt of Rs 1.53 trillion during the December quarter of 2019. Chairman Mukesh D Ambani had in the annual general meeting held in August last year said the company hopes to become net debt free by March 2021.

A key part of this plan was the sale of a 20 per cent stake in the oil-to-chemicals business to Aramco for $15 billion that would value the division at $75 billion. However, with the recent crash in crude prices, apprehensions had grown about the deal’s completion.

While Facebook will invest Rs 43,574 crore for a 9.9 per cent stake in Jio Platforms, sources said the RIL subsidiary will retain Rs 15,000 crore, while the rest will go to the parent company as it redeems some of the optionally convertible preference shares (OCPS). It may be recalled that RIL had invested Rs 1.08 trillion in the subsidiary through OCPS in lieu of debt being transferred to the parent. 

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