Invest and wait patiently. that’s the mantra of India’s richest and world’s 13th wealthiest Mukesh Ambani, who spent the last decade sowing the seeds of his consumer businesses in telecom and retail.
Over the last 18 months he’s reaped rich rewards as investors begin to price in potential earnings with the stock up by 95 percent. In effect they’re betting that Ambani has the smarts to effectively deploy the earnings from his petrochemicals operation and position ‘future proof’ Reliance Industries. (Reliance Industries owns Network18, publisher of Forbes India
Just like he did with the petrochemicals business in building his new businesses, Ambani has unabashedly gone for scale.
Reliance Retail now operates 9,907 stores—more than any retailer across India. It has taken the company over a decade to get here, but the market believes its online bet could roll out double quick. Its aggressive plans for online retail aim to wire India’s kirana stores to its distribution network and reduce last mile fulfilment issues. The move will position it as a credible competitor to Amazon and Flipkart and could allow it to leapfrog its online rivals. Total topline in Q3FY19 was ₹35,577 crore with PBIDT of ₹9,907 crore, but those numbers would look small once the online operation scales up.
Reliance Jio has managed to sign up 280 million customers, making it the third largest mobile operator after disrupting the market with free voice calls, no roaming charges and dirt cheap data. Three years after its launch, it now has 23.9 percent of the market up, from 13.7 percent a year earlier and is making a modest profit. As telecom rates tick upwards, analysts expect the business to become an important driver of profitability. Recently, Jio has announced plans to set up a nationwide broadband network and has acquired Den Networks and Hathway Cable in order to speed up its rollout.
(This story appears in the 12 April, 2019 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)