Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mukesh Ambani plans big for financial business, non-traditional way

NEW DELHI: Billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries group is planning a big splash in financial services sector, but may take a path different than those adopted traditionally in the business of money.

RIL signed a joint venture with global private equity fund house DE Shaw late last month for its financial sector foray and is now considering businesses where it can utilise its expertise and presence in sectors like energy and retail, as also its proposed telecom and power ventures.

The businesses that RIL wishes to undertake with DE Shaw include energy trading, private equity, mutual fund, financial service distribution, infrastructure funding as also equity and debt funding for corporate sector, sources close to the development said.

Emailed queries sent to both DE Shaw and RIL in this regard remained unanswered.

The final contours of its partnership with DE Shaw, such as the shareholding pattern and businesses to undertake, may be discussed at RIL's next board meeting on April 21.

Besides DE Shaw, RIL would also look at a number of other partners for various specific financial service businesses, as it has done in its retail business and to some extent in its energy operations, sources said.

The group would look at serving both corporate and individual customers with an equal focus through its various financial services offerings, they added.

RIL has been working on its financial sector foray for about a year now and a final blueprint on this front may be finalised in next couple of months to enable Ambani to announce the details at the company's AGM later this year.

Between the two Ambani brothers, financial services hitherto have been the domain of younger sibling Anil Ambani, but abolition of their non-compete agreement last year paved the way for Mukesh to pursue this business.

However, the groups led by two brothers may still keep away from any direct competition in their various businesses in this space, at least for initial period, sources said.

RIL, and especially its chief, is known for expertise in in establishing ultra-high value projects in whatever businesses they intend to undertake and financial services would not be any different on that front, sources said.

A mega business plan is being worked out for the Reliance Industries group's entry into financial services sector, but it would be different from the traditional banking and financial businesses, at least in the beginning, they added. 

Source : ET

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