New Delhi: Billionaire Mukesh Ambani who owns business giant Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has unveiled plans to set up a Rs 1.73 lakh crore ($24 billion) and transfer its liabilities of up to Rs 1.08 lakh crore ($15 billion) to a new digital entity that will become the company’s main vehicle to drive India’s internet shopping.
The new e-commerce portal will be aimed to generate maximum profits that will eventually be invested in the conglomerate’s subsidiary Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, which suffered huge debts since Jio’s 4G network rolled out three years ago. As a result, Ambani had been in talks trying to build a backbone for his ambitious e-commerce plans.
“RJIL (Jio) will become virtually net debt-free by 31st March 2020, with the exception of spectrum-related liabilities,” RIL said in a statement.
“Large platform companies are debt-free typically. Benchmarking to peers like Alphabet, Amazon, Alibaba, Facebook, Tencent and Apple,” RJio had said in a presentation.
Earlier this month, Reliance Jio announced new tariff rates for making outgoing calls due to the new Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC) fixed by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Under the new scheme, the telecom operator had placed a 6 paise per minute tariff for all ‘off-net’ calls, i.e., calls made to mobile networks apart from Jio.
The company justified the sudden change saying it had to bear over Rs 13 crore to its rival telecom companies that led to huge losses. Jio’s debt stood at close to Rs 84,000 crore on September 30. Meanwhile, its quarterly profit increased to Rs 990 crore from Rs 681 crore last year.
Jio is a profit-making company and with its decision to go pay on voice may further add to the top and bottom line before stake sale or listing the arm for a higher valuation.