Archive for February, 2010

Reliance Nagothane unit honored with ASTD’s “Excellence in Practice”

February 24, 2010

American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) has honored the Reliance Industries Ltd’s (RIL) Nagothane petrochemical manufacturing unit ‘Excellence in Practice’ to achieve world-class safety in plant operation. Board of Directors of ASTD, which is the world’s largest association dedicated to workplace learning and performance professionals, will honor the team of Nagothane Manufacturing Division during its international conference and exposition on May 10, 2010.

RIL’s Nagothane petrochemical manufacturing division had initiated the practice of ‘Empowering Employees with Knowledge, to attain the safety in plant operation under the leadership of Mukesh Ambani, CMD, Reliance Industries. The practice initiated by the RIL’s Nagothane Manufacturing Division clearly attracted the ASTD, which has members from more than 100 countries who work in thousands of organizations of all sizes. The practice has been selected for the ASTD honour on account of clear demonstration and measurable results of achieving organizational goals, strong evaluation plan and appropriate design values.

The ASTD award is a testimony of demonstration of sincere efforts of RIL’s Nagothane manufacturing unit employees, in line with RIL’s mission of achieving excellence in workplace and its operations. Indirectly, the ASTD has recognised RIL’s practice of relating learning to workplace safety performance through enterprise-wide awareness.


Mukesh Ambani with Marks & Spencer Looking at 8 More Stores in India

February 22, 2010

Marks & Spencer which entered India through a joint venture with Reliance Industries, is all set to open more company-owned stores, and reposition itself as a mid-market aspirational brand. The iconic British retailer is also betting big on overseas markets especially India and China for a turnaround. On a visit to India Sir Stuart Rose, non-executive chairman of M&S stated that their brand positioning here would be the same as in the UK. He said the company is working hard to win the Indian consumer.

M&S which holds 51 per cent stake in the JV with Reliance is planning to open 50 stores by 2014. According to its, chief executive in India, Mark Ashman, the company plans to open six to eight outlets in the next fiscal. For the new stores, M&S is looking at an area of over 25,000 sq. ft. The focus will be on big stores so that they can put their entire catalogue. The JV was set up to sell items such as apparels and household equipment.

Sir Stuart Rose flew to Mumbai for a meeting with the chairman of the Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries, Mukesh Ambani, an M&S partner.“Mark Bolland, our new chief executive, is very keen to grow the overseas market, and India is just top of the list,” said Sir Stuart, who although has decided to step down, remains the chairman of M&S, during the visit. “In fact, I have been discussing with Mr. Ambani about the need to get aggressive and both of us are looking to have several more stores.”

In 2008, the UK-based supermarket chain launched in a joint venture with Reliance Industries. “There’s a real difference when you put people on the ground who really understand the brand and what the customer is looking for, and there is a different mindset when you invest your own money”, says Mark Ashman, the chief executive of the Reliance joint venture. India is not a panacea or an easy win. It takes time, and you have to understand that.”

M&S is UK’s leading retailer that sells high quality, great value clothing and home products, as well as outstanding quality food. Reliance Retail Limited (RRL), a subsidiary of India’s biggest corporate house Reliance Industries Limited, was set up to lead Reliance Group’s foray into organized retail with a vision to generate inclusive growth and prosperity for farmers, vendor partners, small shopkeepers and consumers. Keeping in line with its commitment of providing customers with best quality products, RRL has forged strategic partnerships with world-class companies such as Marks & Spencer (apparel and accessories), Office Depot (office stationery), Pearle Europe (optical products) and Hamleys (toys).


Reliance “Trends” a Growth Path

February 19, 2010

Reliance Trends, the retail chain that offers quality and fashionable clothing at low prices, is chalking out major expansion plans. The apparel arm of Reliance Retail is all set to expand its current base of 16 stores across the country to 155 by 2012 across 90 cities. Arun Sirdeshmukh, Chief Executive Reliance Trends says “You will see now and for the next two years, our growth rate would be far higher than any apparel retailer in the market.” According to senior company officials, with their incredible price offering, Reliance Trends is all set to revolutionize the apparel industry in India.

Conceived nearly two years ago, Reliance Trends’ mission is: to offer the common man quality and fashionable clothing at remarkably low prices. And although the company has had a slow start so far, it now plans to move ahead aggressively. Mr. Sirdeshmukh says that in the last year they have worked hard to create a blueprint for the next three years. From three stores in 2007-08 they moved to 10 in 2008-09 and by March 2010 they will have 21 stores. “Reliance Trends is probably the only format/retailer that has not closed down a single store during the slowdown,” he informs.

The main focus of Reliance Trends is affordability. At every stage of making a garment, they try and save every rupee without compromising on the quality. Right from sourcing raw materials to choosing business partners and designing, pricing is kept in the forefront. The biggest business for Reliance Trends is from the private labels and nearly 60 per cent of revenue comes from the private brands. Besides this Reliance Trends also stocks leading national and international brands.

Among the many exciting offerings from Reliance Trends are First Class jeans at just Rs 199. An anti-wrinkle business suit which costs around Rs 4,500 on an average is priced at Rs 2,499 at Reliance Trends. Among others, Reliance Trends also has a collection of technology clothes. These are fragrant clothes for infant, stain-free trousers, shirts and trousers with in-built moisture management and the like.

Recently, Reliance Trends was awarded the Asia Retail Congress – Retail Marketing Campaign of the year Award. So, with this new growth plan, approach and rapid expansion is Reliance setting new “Trends”.


Reliance TimeOut conferred the Retailer of the Year Award

February 17, 2010

Reliance TimeOut, the books, magazine and music specialty format of Reliance Retail has won the Asia Retail Congress 2010 Award for being ‘The Retailer of the year’ in the leisure category. Within just two years of its existence, Reliance TimeOut has achieved this milestone.

Reliance TimeOut which is present in Bangalore, Gurgaon, Kochi, Ahmedabad and Mumbai has always focused on innovations and customer centric offerings which has set it apart from the rest becoming the preferred destination for modern professionals, fast-track youth and new-age parents. The store offers an unparalleled range of products, services and experiences, catering to their need to explore, imagine, unwind, create, share and play. The ability in fulfilling the customer’s needs is reflected in the store design, merchandise and the same is carried further through the events and activities that are offered at the store for the customers to experience.

Recently Reliance TimeOut has seen much activity in terms of book launches. Biddu’s autobiography ‘Made in India–Adventures of a Lifetime’, Mridula Garg’s “Anitya- Halfway to nowhere” have been launched in Reliance TimeOut across the country with special appearances of the authors in select outlets. At the end of 2009 Mr. Deepinder Kapany, Business Head, Reliance TimeOut announced that “In the next 3-5 years (or December 2014), we will have a total of 45 TimeOut outlets across four states-mainly in western and southern India. Our strategy is to first saturate a town, then a state followed by the entire region.”

On this occasion, Mr. Kapany said, “We are extremely proud to win the Asia Retail Congress 2010 Award for being ‘The Retailer of the year’ in the leisure category. This award has added one more feather to our cap and set an inspiration to our entire team behind it. We hope to take the unique Reliance TimeOut experience further and win many more awards in the future.”


Nita Ambani – Co-owner, Mumbai Indians

February 12, 2010

Indian Premier League is back and so is Nita Ambani. To be one of the most influential business women in the nation and have a passion for the game of cricket is a boon and especially for someone of the stature of Nita Ambani. She has taken Reliance’s social responsibility to the next level and engaged wholeheartedly with the game that India eats, lives and breathes.

Nita Ambani who plays the role of the co-owner of the IPL team Mumbai Indians sure knows how to balance work and play. She is the proud chairman of Dhirubhai Ambani International School and heads many other educational campaigns. Nita Ambani’s fervour for cricket seems to be ever increasing with Mumbai Indians having raked in all the top rank players from the country and looking all set to win the accolades. Nita Ambani, co-owner of the Mumbai Indians spearheaded the strategy for making the smartest bid for the most sought after cricketer Kieron Pollard in the Indian Premier League (IPL). In the quest to bid for Kieron Pollard, three teams had lined up for the auction- Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers and Kolkata Knight Riders apart from Mumbai Indians. However, Nita Ambani’s bid prevailed during the auction.

In 2008, Nita Ambani led Mumbai Indians’ successful bid for 7 players including Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and Sanath Jaisurya while during the 2009 player auction; Mumbai Indians bid South African Player Jean Paul Duminy for a whopping $950,000. This year, Nita Ambani signed up for Kieron Pollard. The bidding which began at a bare price of $200,000 soon took a boost when Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers and Kolkata Knight Riders began battling it out to win over the player. With every bid resulting in all four teams getting into a tie, the IPL chief Lalit Modi called for a tie breaker rule where in all the teams were supposed to quote a price in silent and the team quoting the highest amount would win the claims over Kieron Pollard. Luck clearly rode Nita Ambani’s way as she called out the highest bid.

The team is captained by batsman Sachin Tendulkar. With such star studded line-up, Nita Ambani is one super confident woman who has her eyes set at the upcoming season of Indian Premier League. Speaking about her new achievement for Mumbai Indians, Nita Ambani said that she feels elated at the newest acquisition of team Mumbai Indians. She added that the team’s strategy as discussed between Robin Singh, Sachin Tendulkar and TA Sekar was to have a batting all rounder in the team which they got in Kieron Pollard.

Remembering her Indian Premier League journey, Nita Ambani once said in an interview about how the passion for cricket has bowled her over. Apparently before IPL, her knowledge of cricket was very elementary and was restricted to a few big names in the cricket world. It was only after she took over the management of Mumbai Indians that she started taking an avid interest in the game. Nita Ambani is said to be the lucky mascot for the team Mumbai Indians, she accompanies the team in every match. The lady is all geared up for the upcoming IPL series with a team packed with cricket sensations from around the world.

Marks & Spencer Reliance India Pvt Ltd to open 50 stores by 2014

February 11, 2010

Marks & Spencer Reliance India Pvt Ltd., a joint venture between Marks & Spencer Group PLC (MKS.LN) and a unit of India’s Reliance Industries Ltd. (500325.BY), is on track to open 50 stores by 2014, its chief executive said Wednesday.

“We plan to open six-eight outlets in the next fiscal year,” Mark Ashman told reporters on the sidelines of an industry conference.

The joint venture was set up to sell items such as apparels and household equipment.

It aims to source 70% of the raw materials for the products it sells by 2014 in an attempt to keep costs low, Ashman said.


Reliance: Halted fuel sales to Iran since May 2009

February 10, 2010

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), which operates the world’s biggest oil refining complex in India, said it had halted fuel sales to Iran from May 2009. Media reports on Tuesday quoted Iranian Ambassador to India Seyed Madhi Nabizadeh saying that the Islamic nation was continuing to import fuel from Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).

Reliance in a statement said: “From May 2009, Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) has stopped exports of refined products to Iran and our contract with the buyers explicitly prohibits Iran as a destination for any cargo loaded at Jamnagar.”

Reliance’s huge refining complex at Jamnagar in the western Indian state of Gujarat can process 1.24 million barrel per day of crude.

In January the U.S. Senate approved legislation that would allow President Barack Obama to penalise companies that export gasoline to Iran or help the Islamic republic expand its oil-refining capacity by, in part, denying them loans and other assistance from U.S. financial institutions.


Reliance Brands partners with Diesel

February 9, 2010

Italian fashion brand Diesel will launch in India by the third week of March in partnership with Reliance Brands Ltd, a unit of Reliance Industries Ltd. Diesel SpA has been trying to enter India since 2007, but its previous joint venture with Arvind Mills Ltd fell through.

The premium apparel and accessory brand will have five stores—two in Mumbai, and one each in New Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Positioned as an “alternate to luxury”, it will take on brands such as Hugo Boss and Paul Smith, starting with its debut spring-summer collection.

Experts said the fact that Diesel is reasonably well known within its upmarket target group, especially for its denims, will make its jeans, priced at Rs8,000-17,000, the brand’s primary driver. The Diesel range starts at Rs2,000 and goes all the way up to Rs50,000. While it may be too expensive for the average Indian, it is priced on par with its international range and the firm is confident of its pricing strategy.

Darshan Mehta, chief executive officer of Diesel Fashion India Reliance, disagrees with the opinion that a cheaper entry-level pricing may resonate well with the consumer.

“A lot of our research shows that so long as you are giving them what I call the ‘real thing’, in the real environment, and something that’s as good as it is in the best place in the world, they’ll lap it up,” Mehta said.

“We’ll throw cool parties, we’ll shock and provoke the consumer, we’ll touch them at points that are most unexpected,” Mehta said. “We’ll juxtapose ourselves in situations where suddenly, being stupid makes so much sense. This doesn’t work like a soaps and shampoo campaign where you say ‘so many TRPs (television rating points), so many GRPs (gross rating points), so many channels, because finally in a country of 1.4 billion people, we are looking at a very small percent’.”

The campaign in India will be executed with the help of Delhi-based agency Happy.

Diesel is used to selling an attitude. But Indians may wear that attitude only if it comes at the right price. Although industry experts have mixed feelings about the brand’s success, Reliance Brands believes it has a good bet going.

In fact, Reliance Brands has much more up its sleeve for 2010. It will launch footwear brand Timberland and sportswear brand Paul and Shark in India by the end of the year and says it has the strategies for these brands also well drawn out.


GNFC approaches Reliance for gas supply

February 5, 2010

After getting a go ahead from the Centre for converting urea units into gas-based units, the Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertiliser Corporation (GNFC) is in talks with gas suppliers for a regular supply of one million standard cubic metres per day.

According to company officials, they are talking to the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) and Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) for the supply. “The suppliers have given the assurance for gas supply, as fertiliser is on the priority list of the government. The government will ensure that we get the required amount of gas,” said a GNFC official seeking anonymity.

The official added, “Talks are also on with Reliance Industries (RIL) for supply to the urea plant.” GNFC urea plant will be the first one in the country to use this technology.

The total project cost will be around Rs 1,215 crore. The funds would come from internal accrual and loans, which the government will reimburse later. The contract to build new units in the existing GNFC complex has been assigned to L&T on the turnkey basis.

The clean feed stock of gas compared to fuel oil will ensure environment-friendly production. “This is the reason we are converting it into gas-based plant,” said the official.

Also, the conversion will reduce energy consumption in manufacture of ammonia, said sources. Besides, moving to gas-based units will result in a saving of about Rs 2,000 for every tonne of urea produced. Officials are also reviewing whether the conversion from oil to gas will bring down the emissions in order to earn them carbon credits.


Mukesh Ambani’s RIL gets supports from Netherlands Govt. on LB bid

February 3, 2010

The Dutch Government’s Nodal Investment Agency says that they will support RIL’s for LyondellBasell if the deal goes through. The Netherlands, which is supporting Mukesh Ambani’s $12 billion plus bid for the Rotterdam based pet-chem giant, is the parent country of LyondellBasell.

Bass Pulles, Commissioner of the Dutch Foreign Investment Agency, which facilitates investments in an exclusive interview with ET Now’s Sumit Chaturvedi, in Hague, Netherlands said the government will support RIL’s bid for LyondellBasell. “Since RIL is a foreign company, and so is LyondellBasell, we do offer assistance in the process which surrounds the take over, for instance speeding up immigration procedures or giving a warm shoulder from the ministry”, he said.

Reliance Industries Limited submitted an all-cash non-binding bid to buy a controlling stake in LyondellBasell in 21st of November, 2009. The bid came after LyondellBasell, the third largest petrochemical company in the world, filed for bankruptcy in January, 2009. The deal, if consummated, would facilitate growth of Reliance’s core business. As LyondellBasell has large petrochemical capacities coupled with a good tech portfolio as well as joint ventures in the Middle East, it would help Reliance Industries grow and reach the Western markets.

In December, 2009 Reliance Industries stated that it had no intentions of buying any of the debt from LyondellBasell. The month of January, 2010 witnessed Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries stepping up its offer for the acquisition by offering $13.5 billion instead of the earlier $12 billion.

The Netherlands government support comes as a shot in the arm for Mr. Mukesh Ambani as he prepares to bid for the Rotterdam based LyondellBasell. When asked why the vote of confidence, Pulles said, “They might consider to reinvest again, they might send out positive message to other companies back home or they might inform us on any other strategic developments in their industry.”

The Netherlands is home to global brands like Philips, ING Bank and wants to attract more talent and capital from India. They already have big investments from over 120 odd companies in India such as Infosys and TCS. If Mukesh Ambani does tide over the resistance from some lenders of LyondellBasell, he can be rest assured about support from Dutch Authorities