Reliance Industries raises $7b in India’s largest rights issue

REUTERS/Amit Dave

India’s oil-to-telecoms giant Reliance Industries on Wednesday closed a $7 billion rights issue, India’s largest ever, luring buyers in with a rare deferred payment offer.

Proceeds from the issue, also ranked as one of the world’s biggest by a non-financial company based on Dealogic data, will aid Reliance‘s plan to slash net debt to zero this year.

The issue was subscribed about 1.6 times, in “a vote of confidence, by both domestic investors, foreign investors and small retail shareholders, in the intrinsic strength of the Indian economy”, billionaire owner Mukesh Ambani said a statement late on Wednesday.

Reliance launched the issue last month, offering existing shareholders one new share for 15 held at a discounted price of 1,257 rupees ($17) apiece.

Investors could pay only a quarter of the price upfront, and the rest in two instalments until November 2021.

Also, in a first, Reliance said the partly paid up shares could be traded on stock exchanges, giving investors a chance to buy more of the discounted issue than the entitlement and making it an attractive bet for arbitrage players.

The shares will be allotted on June 10 and listed on the exchanges on June 12, the conglomerate has said.

India is coming out of a two-month nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus that has brought economic activity to a standstill, with markets correcting sharply and deal activity slowing to a trickle.

Still, in the past six weeks, Reliance‘s digital business – known as Jio Platforms – has raised a staggering $10 billion from global investors, including Facebook and private equity like Silver Lake and KKR & Co Inc.

The funds are set to help Reliance eliminate its $21.4 billion net debt this year.

With a crash in oil prices, Reliance‘s shares hit a two-year low late March. Since then, the deal spree and the rights issue have propelled shares to a near record high, trading at 1,570 rupees at 0600 GMT on Thursday.

Promoters – as controlling stakeholders are called in India – hold a little over 50% of Reliance.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.