Archive for November, 2011

Reliance Industries to raise $1 billion to finance shale gas ventures

November 30, 2011

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), one of the world’s leading energy corporations, is planning to raise more than $1 billion to fund its up-and-coming shale gas ventures in the US. RIL will undertake this proposition by selling bonds to foreign investors in the 2.25-2.50% range, about 125-150 basis points above Libor. The funds thus generated will also be directed to Reliance’s Jamnagar facility which is one of the world’s largest refining complexes.

Reliance Industries, India’s largest private sector conglomerate in terms of market valuation, is expected to draw funds with assistance from Citibank, Bank of America and UBS – the merchant bankers to the proposed 10 year dollar bond issue. The company plans to initiate talk with its investors from mid December onwards.

Industry speculations ascertain that RIL, as a priority, will direct a large portion of the funds generated from bond issue to meet the operational expenses of its shale gas projects in the US. The company has inked joint ventures with three US based shale gas companies – Chevron (RIL- Chevron), Carrizo (RIL- Carrizo) and Pioneer (RIL-Pioneer) to extract gas from the three shale gas fields. RIL has already started drilling on two beds and will start operations in the third one by May next year. Reliance Industries has so far invested close to $2.5 billion in its shale gas joint venture projects, with $400 million invested during the April-June financial quarter – the best ever financial quarter for Reliance in the last three years.

With plans to augment its existing shale gas projects and to increase the count of total shale gas assets in the coming years, RIL is keen on increasing its investments in this sector. Also, being an AAA rated firm, it will be relatively easy for the company to gather foreign investors who find it comfortable to invest in companies such as RIL.

Mukesh Ambani’s Meet with PM Surprises Media

November 25, 2011

November 24th, 2011: Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of India’s largest private sector conglomerate, Reliance Industries Limited surprised the media when he stepped out of Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh’s office. His presence in the Prime Minister’s office in Parliament was not known till after the end of his meeting with Manmohan Singh. When questioned about the details of the meeting, Mukesh Ambani commented,” I met him just like that.”

The meeting coincides with Oil Ministry’s flak about the steep fall in output from the east coast KG-D6 gas field, the largest gas field in India. The Oil Ministry had expressed reservations about some of RIL’s expenditure on its flagging KG-D6 gas fields. On November 22nd, Petroleum Secretary, Mr. G. C Chaturvedi said that in the next three to four weeks, the Petroleum Ministry will announce its plan of action regarding the gas output. However, it is uncertain if Mukesh Ambani indeed raised this issue in his discussion with the PM. The company’s spokesperson has refused to comment on the meeting.

The Petroleum Ministry is currently calculating the amount of expenditure they will disallow to penalize RIL’s fall in output from KG-D6 fields. The Ministry has also received views from the law ministry on this issue and is scrutinizing it. Though the law ministry has not quoted any amount, sources from the petroleum ministry say that an approximate of $1.85 billion (Rs 9,600 crore) out of the $5.69 billion (Rs 29,600 crore) investment in the facilities may be disallowed.

Reliance currently produces 42 mmscmd from the gas fields against 60 mmscmd achieved earlier and opposing the promised 80 mmscmd as per the development plan. Reliance is trying to increase the output from D-1 and D-3 gas-fields in the block. The operator has been suggesting that the only solution to bring the currently producing gas-fields to production is to develop satellite fields around them.

The timing of Mukesh Ambani’s visit is interesting and could earn RIL stronger leverage within the government. In its responsibility as the nation’s largest fuel supplier, favorable solutions will be surely worked out with the government as a whole and the oil ministry specifically.

Uncharted 3: Drakes’ Deception – Expectations certainly nailed!

November 22, 2011

After Uncharted 2 swept the awards table last year for outstanding gaming, expectations from Uncharted 3 were certainly very high. The challenge for Uncharted 3 was to live up to the repertoire of its predecessor, if not out do it. The result: a definite success. Uncharted 3 comes as a refreshing addition to the Uncharted series and it stays true to the elemental characteristic of “adventurous pursuit” the series has donned so far.

The main protagonist of Uncharted 3 is of course Nathan ‘Nate’ Drake, supported by Victor ‘Scully’ Sullivan. This time around the plot revolves around a 16th century artifact that belonged to Sir Francis Drake, Nate’s ancestor. The game takes Drake and Scully on a globetrotting journey, from running across chateaus in France to chasing clues in a Syrian Citadel, as they try to pursue this artifact, only to realize a deeper connotation to the plot which leads to unfolding of a larger quest. The story unfolds excitingly to reveal many hidden secrets that involve clandestine organizations, a cursed city and even Queen Elizabeth. A certain Katherine Marlowe is introduced in this series – an English vileness and Drake’s main enemy in the story. Drake’s relationship with Elena Fisher has been mellowed, but this works for a story that parallel’s an Indian Jones-like plot and demands for more action-packed sequences.

Uncharted 3 takes the point on three main counts: graphics, cinematography, and plotline. In terms of graphic designing, Naughty Dog has outdone itself in designing a top-of-the-line gaming experience. The game features new innovations in smoke, fire, sand and water effects, which further adds to the movement of the characters. There is a more realistic element to animation, which is greatly complimented by superb inputs from voice actors and energetic back ground score. As compared to previous Uncharted counterparts, this one comes with improved action-sequences. For one, there is an option for equipping Drake with multiple fire arms. Drake can now take on opponents in more ways than before, from hand-to-hand combat with multiple opponents to relative melee attacks. Stealth options have been improved remarkably, allowing Drake to undertake deeper gunplay. For instance, if Drake is undetected by his enemies, there is an option to use stealth to take them out by sneaking up behind them and killing them with one hit.

Naughty Dog had been talking about introducing advanced multiplayer option, and it has done precisely so in Uncharted 3. Kickbacks and Power play has been introduced to improve multiplayer gaming and although the options for customising additional characters are few, the improvement is rather balanced and welcomed.

Overall, the game works tremendously well because of its strong pull-factor. Once you start playing this game, it is almost impossible to put your console down. And because everybody likes a good adventure, it does not get more adventurous than Uncharted 3. Naughty Dog has exploited the plot rather well and the fine line between realities and virtual almost seems blurred when moving through the game.

Take from the fact that Uncharted 3 has been acknowledged as the Best PS3 game and the best action game by several media outlets, you can be assured that the game does not disappoint.

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is now featured at Reliance Digital, one of India’s largest multi-brand electronic retail chains. Reliance Digital, a hub for things related to electronics and gaming, is one of leading retailers of gaming software and gaming consoles, including PlayStation series.

Cast of ‘The Dirty Picture’ to visit Reliance Digital, Ahmedabad

November 19, 2011

The vibrant cast of upcoming Bollywood film ‘The Dirty Picture’, including Emraan Hashmi, Tusshar Kapoor and Vidya Balan, will pay a visit to the Reliance Digital store – a multi-brand electronics retail store – in Iscon Mega Mall, Ahmedabad on to promote their much anticipated film. The stars will visit the city on on 21st November, 2011, Monday.

The Dirty Picture is a biopic based on the life of southern superstar Silk Smitha. Directed by Milan Luthria and produced by Ekta and Shobha Kapoor, the movie is slated for release on 2nd December 2011 – the birth anniversary of Silk Smitha. Having promoted their film at various events in the last few weeks, the cast is now geared up to visit Ahmedabad to meet their fan in the city and promote their film to them.

Reliance Digital, a value-based electronics retail chain will play host to their visitors over the coming week. Reliance Digital, over the year, has been a favorite destination for film promotions, given the large presence of the retail chain across the country. And over the coming week, it will welcome the cast of The Dirty Picture just as well.

About Reliance Digital: Reliance Digital is a multi-brand value retail format from the house of Reliance Industries Limited. It is a state-of-the-art electronics store that offers every major electronic item under one roof. From High-end LCD and LED TVs, digital cameras, mobile phones, laptops, kitchen and home appliances, IT accessories to gaming consoles and software, Reliance Digital carries it all. Spread across 17 cities, Reliance Digital is one of the most popular electronics retail destinations in the country on account of offering the best in technology at the best possible prices.

Flourishing cash pile to shore up RIL’s upcoming investments

November 14, 2011

Standing on a well-heeled cash pile of nearly $17 billion, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), India’s largest private sector enterprise on the basis of market capitalization, may just find its cash resources increasing by approximately $ 10 billion by March 2012, putting the corporate giant in a comfortable position to support its coming, ambitious investment projects.

Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Industries will see a major boost in its cash reserves as a result of the payment of remaining stake-sale proceeds from BP Plc and its strong operational cash flow, as anticipated by global investment banking major UBS.

RIL had cash and cash-equivalents of $9.5 billion as on 31st March this year, which was nearly double the level it accounted last year. Since then, Reliance has seen its cash reserves increase on the back of sale proceeds from the deal its signed with London base energy major BP PLc earlier this year. RIL has already received a payment of $7 billion in August and a balance payment of $3.2 billion in October from BP for 30 per cent stake in RIL’s 23 oil and gas blocks. Moreover, with a $7 billion strong treasury in place and growing operational cash inflow, Reliance Industries can expect to see its cash pile increase to around $25 billion.

Mukesh Ambani had expressed earlier on at AGM 2011 that the company will find itself debt-free on a net cash flow basis in the current fiscal. And this ambitious pursuit is expected to be realized by first quarter of 2012. With affluent cash reserves in place, Reliance Industries can be expected to drive this cash into its budding core energy assets, new businesses and a potential buy-back of shares. This could prove a positive boost for its stocks as well, says UBS. What will act as catalysts to RIL’s aspirations, as per UBS, is the tangible sight of value creation from developments in sectors like retail (with the government allowing foreign direct investment in retail) and its SEZ land assets.

Nita Ambani’s Diverse Public Roles

November 6, 2011

Mukesh Ambani owned RIL’s empress Nita Ambani, is famously described as “Reliance’s real program manager” by her husband. It will not be surprising to soon hear EIH’s chairman P R S Oberoi, use the same words to describe Nita Ambani’s role with regards toOberoi and Trident group of hotels, after nominating her on the board.
Though the Ambani’s and Oberoi’s are downplaying Nita Ambani’s inclusion in the EIH board to be of a non-executive nature, time will reveal that it goes much beyond what the designation suggests. Nita Ambani considers her first formal corporate role as an honor, but softens it by adding that RIL was a long-term financial investor and was not seeking to run the company. However, analysts believe that RIL is now prepared to play a larger role in the hospitality business, and Nita Ambani will certainly not play an ornamental role even if the designation suggests so.
Post the formal nomination as a board member, Nita Ambani said,” Right now, I am in a learning mode with Mr. Oberoi”. The comment was roughly the same as the one she made three years ago, about her husband’s foray into cricket. She was not completely in agreement with Mukesh Ambani when he bought Mumbai Indians, but adapted the ‘learning mode’ after disastrous matches at IPL 2 in South Africa.
She flew down to South Africa and took charge of the team. Since then, she is always present for all team meetings and auctions. Nita Ambani is the lady luck for Mumbai Indians, and the team’s performance has visibly risen since she took the leadership. Mumbai Indians triumphantly won the CLT20 this year. Her ‘amazing leadership qualities’ and ability to ‘bond with the boys’, are given creditfor the team’s achievements.
Nita Ambani’s dedication to work is worth praising. She juggles between multiple roles and is ascompetent as her husband. As the chairperson of Dhirubhai Ambani International School, she visits the school daily and is present there even before the school opens. She heads the Dhirubhai Ambani Foundation, a non-profit organization which promotes education and health care services. She is equally devoted to Project Drishti, which provides free treatment to the blind. Her future agenda needs her to be the spearhead of 400-plus bed multi-specialty hospital and Reliance University, an ambitious project to set up a world-class university.
After playing diverse public roles, Nita Ambani, the wife of India’s richest businessman, loves to play the role of a middle-class lady at heart. She adores being a home-maker and a very supportive mother. She keeps track of weekly spending and enjoys shopping for crockery, like every other woman.

RIL and RCom to Tie-Up for Revolutionizing 4G in India

November 3, 2011

Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Industries Limited to tie-up with younger brother Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communication to revolutionize 4G in India. RIL is likely to use RCom’s access systems, fiber-optic backbone, international cable systems and internet gateways to provide high-speed data services. This will be the first major collaboration between the Ambani brothers since the division of Reliance conglomerate in 2005.

After the termination of the non-compete agreement between the Ambani siblings in 2010, RIL re-entered the telecom industry. It acquired licenses for nationwide broadband services for Rs 13,000 crore, the only company to do so.

For the first phase of RIL’s wireless broadband foray, it plans to lease around 26,000 towers from telecom power operators. The major source of its infrastructure will be contributed by Reliance Communications, the telecom industry setup by Anil Ambani. The partnership does not include any equity investments by RIL in Reliance ADA Group’s Telecom arm, RCom.

The RIL-RCom partnership will permit RIL to carry data traffic on RComs’ pan-India 2.8 lakh fiber optic network, the largest in the sector. Apart from using RComs’ towers, RIL intends to use the optic fiber network and transmission facilities such as national and international long distance networks to carry its data traffic. A finalized deal will enable RIL’s access to Reliance Communications’ 50,000 towers spread across 1,500 cities and towns in India.

RIL plans to offer data services at costs as low as Rs 10/GB, as opposed to competitors’ price of Rs. 100/GB. Both companies will also work towards launching tablet devices at low prices. Currently, RCom offers tablets at Rs 12,999 apiece. Spokespersons from both the companies informed that the tie-up aims at bringing down the price to Rs 6,000 apiece.

RIL has formed a core team to focus on this project. Most of the members of this team were a part of Reliance’s first telecom foray nearly a decade ago. The task of execution of this project is delegated to Jyotindra Thacker, brother-in-law of Manoj Modi.

When RIL was contacted with regards to the tie-up, an official spokesperson from RIL said,” We had issued a tender and all tower and fiber companies had given their quotes. We have not decided anything so far.”