Reliance Gives India its Second $100-Billion Firm This Year

(Bloomberg) -- Reliance Industries Ltd. is back in the $100 billion club, a journey that has taken more than a decade.

Shares for the billionaire Mukesh Ambani-helmed company jumped as much as 5.8 percent on Thursday, pushing up the market value to 6.9 trillion rupees. Reliance is the second Indian corporate after Tata Consultancy Services in April surpassed the $100 billion mark. Ambani has regained the second-richest Asian tag, overtaking Tencent Holdings’ CEO Ma Huateng, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

“It is a big deal,” said Sunil Sharma, who oversees $1 billion of assets as chief investment officer at Sanctum Wealth Management Pvt. in Mumbai. “Indian companies sporting large market caps is an announcement of the nation’s emergence and entry into the big leagues.”

Reliance is on the cusp of transformation as it hopes to get as much as half of its revenue from the newer consumer businesses, including telecom, and reducing its dependence on the mainstay oil-refining and chemicals segments. The stock had lagged the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex for years until last March, when Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. -- the disruptive telecom unit that debuted in 2016 with free offers -- decided to start charging for its data services and boosted investor hopes of better returns on investment.

The shares gained 4.3 percent to a record 1,083.45 rupees at 3:08 p.m. in Mumbai, taking the year-to-date advance to about 18 percent.

Ambani, while addressing shareholders earlier this month, laid out an ambitious e-commerce road map that would draw on group’s retail and telecom units to take on the likes on Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc.

“Big Indian companies are demonstrating bigger innovation and ambition, precisely what is needed to take on the large U.S. players,” Sharma said.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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