Archive for May, 2016

RIL Inks deal to sell stake in Gulf Africa Petroleum Corporation

May 31, 2016

Mumbai, 31st May 2016: Reliance Exploration & Production DMCC (“REPDMCC”), an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (“RIL”) and Total, have executed agreements on May 30th, 2016 for the sale of the entire 76% interest held by REPDMCC in the Mauritius-incorporated Gulf Africa Petroleum Corporation (“GAPCO”). The proposed transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions that are customary for similar transactions.

GAPCO is a holding company with operating subsidiaries in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda which are primarily engaged in petroleum product import, and trading, storage, distribution, marketing, supply and transportation of oil products in East Africa. Since the acquisition of 76% equity interest in GAPCO by REPDMCC in 2007, GAPCO has significantly grown and is one of leading petroleum marketing company in East Africa, which now operates 108 retail outlets and owns 260 TKL of storage capacity.

REPDMCC’s agreement to sell its interest in GAPCO is part of a joint transaction, wherein both REPDMCC and the Minority Shareholder have agreed to sell their entire respective holdings in GAPCO for cash.

The net proceeds for the sale will be finalized on completion of the transaction which is expected to be within the coming months.

About Reliance Industries Limited (RIL)

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) is India’s largest private sector company, with a consolidated turnover of INR 296,091 crore (US$ 44.7 billion), cash profit of INR 40,737 crore (US$ 6.1 billion) and net profit of INR 27,630 crore (US$ 4.2 billion) for the year ended March 31, 2016.

Mukesh Ambani owned RIL is the first private sector company from India to feature in Fortune’s Global 500 list of ‘World’s Largest Corporations’, currently ranking 158th in terms of revenues and 142nd in terms of profits. RIL ranks 238th in the Financial Times’ FT Global 500 2015 list of the world’s largest companies. RIL’s activities span hydrocarbon exploration and production, petroleum refining and marketing, petrochemicals, retail and telecommunications.

About Total Marketing & Services

Total Marketing & Services develops and markets products primarily derived from crude oil, along with all of the associated services. With 32,000 employees in 150 countries, Total Marketing & Services serves more than 4 million customers daily throughout its network of over 15,500 service stations. As the world’s fourth largest distributor of lubricants and the leading distributor of petroleum products in Africa, Total Marketing & Services operates 50 production sites worldwide where it manufactures the lubricants, bitumen, additives, special fuels and fluids that sustain its growth.

Summary

Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Industries Limited has signed agreements for the sale of its 76% interest held by REPDMCC in Gulf Africa Petroleum Corporation to total in cash.

 

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Reliance Jio May Witness a 15 Percent Increase In Subscriber Share Within Four Years

May 25, 2016

Reliance Jio Infocomm is expected to see a considerable hike in subscriber share in approximately four years according to analysts. They stated that the company intends to achieve a target 15 percent share by offering consumers efficient 4G services at affordable rates.

Incumbents at risk

Brokerage Company Marquarie Research stated in a report that Jio’s arrival in the 4G market is likely to jeopardize the stronghold of current incumbents and possibly dwindle their sales. Analysts have further predicted a steep fall in data prices (an expected drop from the current Rs. 0.23 MB to Rs. 0.1 per MB by end of this financial year), with operators battling it out to carve their niche among existing customers while also trying to lure potential ones.

The leading three incumbents, namely Idea Cellular, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India may possibly lose out on subscriber share by 8 percent around FY17 to FY20. The average revenue per user of these operators may also get affected in the bargain.

Drop in data rates

Another report by HSBC revealed that data rates may fall considerable by 10-15 percent in the successive three months and could witness a further fall of 30 percent as March 2017 draws to a close. As per the report, companies are likely to focus on driving 2G users into 3G or 4G bandwidths, while simultaneously trying to introduce new smartphones in India.

Commencement of full-scale operations

Reliance is also gearing to open its high-speed network for everyone by December, which will exclude the need for an invitation. The invite program that was kick-started by the company’s employees offered free data services for invited members across three months. The services comprised Jio apps like Jio Mags, Jio On-Demand, Jio Beats, Jio Security, Jio Drive and JioXpressNews.  The same could only be availed of on purchase of a LYF smart phone; however, SIM card distribution is most likely commence from the 30th of May. This scheme has now been extended for up to six months (offer will expire in November 2016).

Plans for a glitch-free launch

At an event held to discuss Reliance Jio’s quarterly results, the company revealed that it has acquired a customer base of 500,000 users through its testing phase, most of whom already owned LYF handsets. The telecom arm also aims to launch services for public consumption once it reaches a target of some million subscribers. Additionally, it wants to ensure a glitch-free launch through network optimization prior to full-scale operations.

Reliance through its unparalleled services has now emerged as the fifth largest smart phone brand in the country, all within only four months of its launch.  The company launched a range of handsets such as LYF EARTH 1, LYF WATER 1, LYF FLAME 1, LYF WATER 2, LYF FLAME 2, LYF WIND 4, LYF WIND 6 and LYF WATER 5 at varying prices to suit every budget. They are priced between Rs. 4,799 to Rs. Rs. 19,399. One of their newest offerings also include Smart LED TVs driven by Android OS ranging from Rs. 65,990 to Rs. 1,99,990.

Summary

Analysts predict that Reliance Jio may acquire a 15 percent subscriber share in four years.

Reliance Jio Wins Herman Miller-REACH Award for Best Office Design

May 20, 2016

Michigan. May 19, 2016. Reliance Jio, an upcoming 4G service provider in India, was awarded the Herman Miller-REACH award here on Thursday for innovative concept design of their commercial office situated in Navi Mumbai. Conceived and implemented by Mumbai-based design consultant firm DWP Interics, the modern open-office model was rewarded primarily for its stylish collaborative spaces, sleek lounges, and use of attractive color schemes.

HM - JIO (1)

Marketed as one of the largest transformational green-field digital initiatives anywhere in the world, Reliance Jio came up with the idea of open-office culture from its founders, the people also behind India’s largest conglomerate Reliance Industries, (RIL). With a vision to create a work environment in its Mumbai headquarters that would help bring about radical change across the entire organization, the telecom company joined hands with a number of designers and concept artists to carefully plan the layout of the office, which was completed in 2015. The aim to put a blanket on non-collaborative work stations worked well for the company. One highlight from their eight-storied glass-façade building is an art installation that is supposedly made out of scrapped remains of a petite four-wheeler which once used to be a ubiquitous black-and-yellow taxi (locally known as kaali-peeli), a type of cabs that still adorns the roads of Mumbai and other cities of India.

HM - JIO (2)

“One of the biggest challenges we faced was the pre-existing cabin culture”, said a management executive with Jio who was closely related to the project, “which made people toil only within their own space. The organizational shift, that was very much needed, further fueled the idea, which then led to the foundation of the office design.” Named Courtyards, the concept implemented by Jio was simple: Every house or village or township across India has an inward space where groups of people gather for discussions, evening meets, celebrations, and a variety of other activities. Started in 2014, the final product would go on to furnish a modern open office environment, which would help enhance staff productivity at Jio as they inch towards launching their services.

HM - JIO (3)

Other winners in the ‘Commercial Office’ group were Airbnb’s Beijing office, IBM Studio in Shanghai, Marriott’s Shanghai office, and Indeed Tokyo to name a few.

About the brands

Herman Miller-REACH is a synergic enterprise formed by the American furniture manufacturer. With a worldwide presence and a history of over a hundred years, Herman Miller is credited with the invention of the office cubicle, which currently forms an integral part of companies around the world. The design award has been around for a few years where it recognizes achievement in design in the spheres of business, lifestyle, projects, and events.

Reliance Jio is an upcoming 4G digital service provider in India with a pan-India license. It is a subsidiary of Reliance Industries and is marketed along with LYF, a 4G LTE smartphone brand, which is the fifth largest mobile brand in India.

DWP Interics was founded in 1984 in Mumbai and provides services ranging from architectural design, interior design, and project management. In 2009, it won the American Design Award for best interior design.

Summary

Reliance Jio won the Herman Miller-REACH award for Best Office Design for its open office concept on 19 May 2016.

Reliance’s LYF Brand Expected to Be Worth One Billion Dollars by FY17

May 17, 2016

Reliance Industries is making progress by leaps and bounds. If the recent CLSA reports are anything to go by, Reliance Retail’s LYF brand could soon be worth one million dollars by the financial year 2017.

These findings have been arrived at bearing in mind the smart phone boom in the country as well Reliance’s expected success in the 4G network sector. Reliance’s retail arm has already garnered positive reviews for its line of smart phones and the much-awaited 4G launch is likely to make LYF a tough rival for other brands like Samsung.

Strong distribution network

The smart phone brand has a lot more going for it than its specifications and visual appeal. Apart from its unparalleled network support and entry-level brand appeal, LYF scores with the innumerable 4G services that Jio offers. All these are likely to up the sales of the smart phone brand in the country.

Fifth largest smart phone brand

According to a report by Counterpoint Research, Reliance Retail’s LYF brand has battled it out to emerge as the fifth largest smart phone brand in the country. This will be beneficial to the upcoming launch of Jio whose strategy is headed by Akash Ambani. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the company has already succeeded in cornering a seven percent share in the market in the first quarter itself. CLSA deems this an encouraging start for the company and attributes the success to channel filling.

Seven percent market share

CLSA reported that the seven percent market share of approximately 137 million smart phone sales in the current fiscal year is likely to result in sales of ten million units. This rapid growth according to CLSA could make LYF a one billion dollar brand in the country using an average selling price of 100 dollars. The same could drive in 31 percent revenues for Reliance.

VoLTE smart phones

The retail company is said to have shipped 1.7 million LYF handsets into India from January to March. Additionally, the company has been associated with reputed brands like ZTE, CK Telecom, Wingtech and Tinno for sourcing Voice over LTE (VoLTE) smart phones.

Invite system

The invite-based program spear-headed by the company is also expected to yield beneficial results in terms of LYF phone sales according to CLSA. The scheme entails free data services comprising a substantial amount of voice minutes and SMS facilities for invited members.

Reasonably priced handsets

LYF brand phones are available across varied prices to cater to diverse preferences. Currently, eight models have hit the market within the price range of Rs. 4,799 to Rs. 19,399. The Flame 2 at Rs. 4,799 and the Wind at Rs. 6,799 are attractively priced and is certain to give tough competition to existing brands as per the report by CLSA. Reliance has also tapped the Smart TV sector with its range of advanced television sets and also intends to delve into manufacturing of mobile accessories in the future.

So far, Reliance has promoted the brand by roping in famous celebrities and cricketers. The brand has also remained in constant limelight by sponsoring events like the Lakme Fashion Week where Isha Ambani launched Ajio an online fashion retailer and through its active presence on social media.

Summary

Reliance Retail’s LYF brand is expected to be worth one billion dollars by FY17 according to a CLSA report.

Reliance Jio Makes JioMoney Wallet Available to Customers on App Stores

May 11, 2016

Reliance Jio Infocomm’s newly launched applications have received a heads-up from many customers and market analysts alike. Among them is the JioMoney Wallet which comes under the scheme of free data services that are being offered to certain invited members. The program that is being executed by Reliance employees is said to grant exclusive customers the opportunity to avail of these facilities for three months.

Transactions using JioMoney Wallet

The telecom company has already roped-in around 50,000 merchants to kick-start the wallet service. Transactions using JioMoney Wallet will soon be trending as the facility will also be compatible with online shopping portals like Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal. One of the more recent developments that has Reliance standing in good stead involves its consolidation with Amazon for sale of the former’s LYF smart phones such as LYF EARTH, LYF FLAME 1, LYF FLAME 2, LYF WATER 1, LYF WATER 2.

Partnership with online portals

The partnership with Amazon has garnered positive reviews for Reliance Retail’s LYF Water 5 handset. Therefore, the company has already demarcated plans for collaborating with some of the other leading online portals like Flipkart and Snapdeal as well. This is being viewed as a great marketing strategy as nearly one-third of handsets in the country are being purchased through these portals.

Availability in app stores

The JioMoney Wallet application can be downloaded either from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. It will be the second in line after the launch of the telecom company’s messaging app JioChat. The 350 crore mobile wallet industry is growing exponentially, and Jio aims to tap this particular sector. Besides, the company has also been issued a license for accepting deposits in collaboration with The State Bank of India.

Service launched post testing phase

Post four months of testing, the service has finally been opened to customers. Prior to this, the facility was only functional in select places like Reliance cafeterias and at the company’s retail unit. A source also reported that in addition to online portals the wallet service will also branch-out to offline stores across the country.

Diverse uses

The application will allow customers to accomplish daily activities like mobile recharges, bill payments and insurance premium payments. One of its other key features include easy transfer of payments. Besides the service can also be used for purchase of items across various Reliance chains like Reliance Digital, Digital Express, Reliance Fresh and Reliance Jewels.

Fifth-largest smart phone brand

With an impressive 1.2 lakh retailers partnering with Reliance Retail, the company’s LYF handsets are deemed the fifth-largest smart phone brand in India. The general specifications of a LYF smartphone are Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 4G LTE technology, dual SIM card slots, HD video and voice calling, LED display, and more. As per a report by Counterpoint Technology Market Research, the company has even cornered a seven percent share in the market since the first quarter. The telecom arm is also expected to roll out its 4G services in the succeeding months. Overall, a good phase awaits Reliance with future projects that include tie-ups with brick and mortar companies.

The chairman of Reliance Industries revealed that the company’s goal is to provide consumers an affordable and secure digital transaction experience. “It is the ideal solution for even our smallest merchants, such as kiranas, restaurants and taxi drivers,” he said.

Summary

Reliance Jio Infocomm’s JioMoney Wallet service opened to customers after four months of testing.

Reliance Jio Starts the Public Launch of its 4G Service

May 5, 2016

Using an innovative strategy, Reliance Jio has begun introducing its trial services to the public through an invite-only system. This launch has taken place in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Haryana, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.

Aggressive marketing

The company has handed out invites for buying a LYF phone to its employees, who had earlier received the trial SIM cards. Free unlimited 4G data and a SIM card will be offered with the phones. Interested customers only need to give their e-mail IDs to Jio employees to acquire an invite with a unique code.

Once they have printed out their invites, they may walk into any Reliance Digital or Digital Express store, and buy a LYF phone of their choice.

Reliance Digital seizes opportunity

Using this invite-only system to its advantage, Reliance Digital is drawing more customers to its stores. Invites are being given free of cost to customers who buy phones from the store.

The company is making active use of social media to guide people to specific Reliance Digital stores, where they may buy bundled SIM cards and LYF phones. Employees are also personally writing social media posts, giving ample information about the benefits of this system.

Your own myJio account

This new invite-only system will allow customers to buy a SIM card in their own name. To swiftly activate their SIM cards, customers will only need to submit proofs of address and identity.

Customers will be able to handle transactions themselves through their own myJio accounts. These accounts are free of cost and may be used to make further recharges.

Additional benefits

As a part of the preview, customers will be able to access unlimited VoLTE calling, video calling, 4G data, and SMS for 90 days. During this three month period, customers may also experience 8 Jio applications, including JioBeats and JioOnDemand, which features the latest movies and TV shows.

Satisfying eager customers

This soft launch has given customers the opportunity to avail of Reliance Jio’s much awaited 4G service. It has also enabled the company to liquidate its LYF stocks over the next three months. Thousands of crores of rupees were invested in the creation of the LYF handset brand and the importing of devices into India.

LYF is the second largest provider of 4G-enabled smart phones in India, and among the top 5 smart phone players in the country.

Aiming for the best 4G experience

Mr. Mukesh Ambani, the owner of Reliance Industries, wants to put the best foot forward when it comes to Jio’s 4G services. Even though the 1800+2300 spectrum would provide satisfactory 4G coverage, the company has decided to integrate the high-propagation 850 MHz spectrum of Reliance Communications.

This will allow Reliance Jio to set up a high-performance network in July. Meanwhile, Reliance Communications has begun the process of shifting users from its CDMA network into Jio’s 4G network, as well as its own GSM. This process, which is expected to be seamless, will aid the integration of the 850 MHz spectrum.

A full commercial launch is expected to take place immediately after the network has been set up.

Summary

Reliance Jio has started the public launch of its 4G service through an invite-only system. Customers will be able to experience unlimited 4G services by acquiring an invite from a Jio employee.