Archive for December, 2013

Reliance Industries Limited is the CSR Company of the Year

December 30, 2013

Corporate Social Responsibility is not a new thing in India. It has been prevalent for least a few decades. Through Corporate Social responsibility, also known as CSR, companies aim to give back to society in the form of assistance or monetary support. Many PSU’s as well private sector companies are big in this domain. The great thing about India’s Industrial landscape is that the big companies are active participants in CSR. With regards to privately owned companies in India, they come no bigger than Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). The Mukesh Ambani juggernaut has been steadily investing in healthcare, education and infrastructure development for some time now. The company along with owned entities like the Indian Premier League Team, Mumbai Indians has been promoting education. The Reliance Dhirubhai Ambani Protsaham Scheme continues to support poor meritorious students. Recipient students of Reliance Dhirubhai Ambani Protsaham Scheme got admissions in junior colleges of their choice. With this, it should no surprise when RIL wins accolades for its work in the CSR domain.

RIL has been adjudged the Corporate Social Responsibility Company of the Year at Oliver Kinross’s Asia Oil & Gas Awards 2013 ceremony for demonstrating commitment to the communities in which it operates, as well as excellence in all ethical and environmental aspects of its business operations. The two-day conference-exhibition-cum-award ceremony took place at Amari Watergate Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, on November 18, 2013.

Oliver Kinross, an international business research organisation, gives the Asia Oil & Gas Awards during its twin-summits – the Asia Offshore Oil and Gas Summit 2013 and the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea Oil and Gas Summit. It is Asia’s leading annual awards ceremony for the Oil and Gas sector and recognizes the achievements of local and international companies who have played a defining role in the industry. A panel of Energy Ministers, Oil and Gas Companies and Market Experts from across Asia decides the awardees.

CSR is a huge responsibility, and the biggest recipient of this is the common man. With concentrated efforts in the sector, companies enable people benefiting from their donations or assistance have a chance to lead a better life. Because of this, there is a sense of gratitude that develops from the people toward the organization. In the case of RIL, its CSR teams across its manufacturing divisions interact with the neighbouring community on regular basis. In the end however, companies in India, a country with widespread disparity on social as well as economic terms do have a sense of responsibility to give back to society. It’s heartening to see this on the rise with RIL at its forefront.

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RJIL – Airtel Deal: Rivals join forces in Pursuit of Common Interests

December 20, 2013

Sunil Mittal led Bharti Airtel and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocommare joining forces in a ground-breaking telecom infrastructure sharing deal. The agreement includes fiber optic network, both inter and intra city, submarine cable networks, mobile towers, along with broadband internet and other opportunities in the future.

As of October 2013, there are a total of 875.48 million mobile subscribers in India. This number continues to grow. 3G in India has been quite successful. Now, 4G is expected to see a launch soon. Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJIL) has received a pan-India 4G license and has been issued 2.2 crore mobile numbers. RJIL has been pursuing the infrastructure and related projects with a lot of vigor and this infrastructure sharing deal with Airtel is according to analysts, ushering a new era of telecom growth in the country. While this story has been big news, many people are pleased to see Mukesh Ambani and Sunil Mittal come together. Talking at the Progressive Punjab Summit in Mohali recently, Ambani, the Chairman of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) commented, “For further enhancing the digital experience, we can have a collaborative partnership with our friend Mr. Mittal.”

Both companies have reasons to benefit from the deal. The primary purpose is to avoid duplication of infrastructure projects. The side benefit is the fact that less land will be occupied and as a result there will be a lot of cost-saving for both companies. This deal will ensure availability of 4G network to users from both telecom majors. Also, there is speculation that this could be extended to accommodate 2G and 3G networks in the near future. This is fantastic news for RJIL who will now have access to Airtel’s 4G LTE network. Expecting to see a launch sometime in 2014, Reliance Jio Infocomm will make a grand entrance into the telecom space.

While Airtel has already begun rolling out 4G services and RJIL is on the verge of starting them soon, the growing mobile users in India have enough reasons to cheer. First, the availability of 4G could mean faster speeds and increased access to mobile networks for many people. RJIL, for example, launched 4G is Odisha on a trial run. A side benefit according to many analysts is that 3G and 2G services could get a lot cheaper. Overall, the deal signals fresh optimism in the sector and is a sign of things to come. With increasing infrastructure costs and environmentalists questioning practices by large firms, such collaborations could set the tone for the years to come. For the time being at least, it seems that this alliance between two of India’s most successful companies could be mutually beneficial and crucially, the consumer could also expect to benefit.

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Reliance Exits its Non-Vegetarian Store – ‘Delight’

December 17, 2013

Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Industries Limited’s retail arm has decided to exit its new non-vegetarian chain ‘Delight.’ According to a statement released by the conglomerate, this discontinuation will be in effect immediately. The retail arm will focus on vegetarian offerings within their retail portfolio from now on. Reliance Retail in an official statement said, “Despite this sensitive balance of availability and convenience, it was felt that certain sections of customers were still hesitant to shop at our other stores. Reliance Retail has therefore decided to focus on vegetarian offerings only, within its retail portfolio.”

Reliance Retail had earlier planned to set up ‘Delight,’ a chain catering to non-vegetarian products. The chain’s expansion plan was highly ambitious with it stating to stamp its presence in 25 cities in 11 States. Over 100 stores were to come up in the same time. As the profits in the non-vegetarian sector can be up to 100% higher than those in the food and grocery sector, the retail chain had in fact at a later date planned to set up over 1000 stores. The company added, “We believe that this decision will help us to fully leverage our core competencies and remain relevant with a wider section of consumers,” it added.

The company had introduced Delight as an independent format for non-vegetarian offerings in select geographies and a completely dedicated and fully segregated supply chain was maintained in order to cater to the distinct preferences and ideologies of different customers, it added.

Earlier, it was reported that the retail arm of RIL, had in fact tied up with a foreign partner to support his new venture. However, refuting the same, a spokesperson from Reliance said, “We wish to clarify that we have not tied up with any foreign partner for quick service restaurant business and also categorically state that we are neither planning nor desirous of pursuing setting up of any such processing plant.”

However, keeping in mind the huge potential of available real estate, the company has planned to make use of its available spaces that had earlier been reserved for ‘Delight.’ The same spokesperson said, “They have the properties and they will meaningfully use it and accommodate other formats,” said a top executive aware of the company’s plans. The Delight stores are around 200 sq ft each and they are evaluating all options.”

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RIL and BP to pump in up to $10 billion to boost Gas Output

December 13, 2013

Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and British Petroleum (BP) are looking forward to investing in anywhere from $5 – $10 billion to increase gas production by four times in the coming months. BP’s India MD SashiMukundan on 11th December was quoted as saying, “We have been talking about an investment of $5-10 billion.’’ Also, he said that the gas production could rise to 40 or 50 or 60 million metric standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd) by 2020.

One of the world’s biggest oil companies, BP, which has invested $7.2 billion in 2011 in oil fields in India feels new produce from the 11 satellite discoveries in the KG-D6 block, five finds in NEC-25 and two discoveries in the Cauvery block will great enhance revenues. “What is important is that we need to have clear pricing policy for raising the gas output from these fields,’’ Mr. Mukundan said.

BP’s MD also said that the opportunity would allow the two giants to quadruple production in the next seven years as they re-worked the fields and got into the next phase of development of already discovered resources. BP-RIL combine is now producing about 11.8 mmscmd of gas from the flagging eastern offshore KG-D6 block. They are targeting newer fields in the KG-D6 block, and gas discoveries in neighbouring northeast coast and Cauvery basin to raise output.

Mr. Mukundan said BP was committed to find more oil and gas globally, including India, where it was focused, along with RIL, on exploration, development and production India’s East Coast. He was also quoted as saying, “I do believe there is a huge potential to find more hydrocarbons in the Indian basin, and our presence, investment and track record to date are a testimony to this. Our joint venture alone could reveal a prize of over $100-150 billion for India by avoiding costly imports.”

Looking towards the near future, BP and RIL would concentrate on working on three wells which have been shut. These after being rendered operational would start generating produce in the Jnuary-march Quarter.

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Reliance Jio Infocomm’s 4G Network Making considerable in-roads in Kerala

December 6, 2013

Kerala looks to be the latest State in India to benefit from 4G networks’ gaining momentum. Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJIL) is setting up infrastructure to facilitate 4G network in the South Indian State. The Reliance Industries (RIL) Chairman has been very ambitious in his new telecom venture and it’s expected that a full-fledged launch will take place in March or April 2014.

RJIL is not holding back as far as the support structure or networks are concerned. According to sources, around Rupees 2,000 crore is being spent to to build the network requisite for the service, which could theoretically deliver a speed of up to 300 Mbps (megabits per second) and FTTH (fibre-to-the-home) fixed-line broadband. The telecom company is planning a phase by phase rollout of its services that would hit Kerala’s biggest cities first followed by smaller ones. This launch would first begin in Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam, Kozhikode, Kannur, Thrissur, Kollam, Alappuzha, Cherthala and Palakkad. To ensure a glitch-free network, RJIL will be setting up 1,700 mobile towers followed by another 1,700 in Kerala in the second phase. “Technologically and commercially, 4G is a quantum leap from the 3G service and the high speed offered by 4G will leverage e-learning and e-commerce. RJI has entered into a contract with the state government to network government offices across the state,” said Venugopal K Nair, consultant of RJI and former director of Kerala state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau.

That’s not all. Not being content with capturing a sizeable market share of 4G services, RJIL is also planning a three-stage rollout of wire-line broadband to homes. The company is laying 10,000 kilometres of fibre optic cable targeting the big cities and towns of Kerala such as Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Kollam, Alappuzha, Kozhikode and Kannur.

At the same time as this development, the mobile handset market is looking at the whole 4G rollout with the view that it’s the mobile handsets that’re going to be critical its success. . “Flagship phones of all major mobile makers are 4G compatible,” said A Faizal, director of Kochi-based Ezyby.com, an online shop for electronic products. As per JayanthGiridhar, director of multi-brand store chain Fridge House, sales of such phones are on the rise in Kerala. “Mobile phones are increasingly used as PCs for downloading games or searching information on the net. Hence the sale of 4G compatible models will grow,” he noted.

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