RIL Shares Reach Highest In A Decade After Mukesh Ambani Announces Zero-Net-Debt Plan

Shares of Reliance Industries saw their biggest intraday rise in over more than a decade today. The company has vowed to reach zero net debt within 18 months and vowed to reward shareholders with higher dividends and periodic bonus issues.

The group’s billionaire chairman, Mukesh Ambani, also unveiled plans to launch cut-price home internet services across the country next month, threatening to disrupt the telecommunications market with offers of free voice calls for life, television and movie streaming, and even TV sets to go with some subscription plans.

The announcements drove Reliance Industries shares up as much as 12 per cent – their biggest such move since January 14, 2009.

The spike has put Reliance Industries within touching distance of becoming the highest-valued Indian company again.

Currently, it trails Tata Consultancy Services by slightly more than $1 billion.

But shares of telecom majors Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea slid 4 per cent and almost 5 per cent respectively as the announcements spurred worries of a repeat of what happened just three years ago when Reliance’s Jio burst on to the scene.

Jio, with cheap data plans and freebies, has managed to become the country’s top mobile operator by subscribers and the second-biggest globally over the three years.

Mr Ambani said, at Reliance’s annual general meeting (AGM) on Monday, that customers of Reliance’s Premium Jiofiber broadband services “will be able to watch movies in their living rooms the same day these movies are released in theatres”.

Shares of multiplex chain operators PVR and Inox Leisure fell as much as 8 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively, on the news, after trading resumed following a holiday on Monday.

Shares in Dish TV India were also down.

As of 11:36 am, Reliance Industries shares were up about 10 per cent, while the broader market was down slightly.

Reliance Industries shares were also buoyed by the news that Saudi Aramco plans to invest roughly $15 billion for a 20 per cent stake in its oil-to-chemicals business.