Hindustan Times (Lucknow)

‘Future belongs to those who ace tech’

- Kalpana Pathak kalpana.p@livemint.com

MUMBAI: The future belongs to organizati­ons that will lead the digital revolution, and success will depend on agility and innovation, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani said on Wednesday.

In his address to shareholde­rs in the company’s annual report released on Wednesday, Ambani said, “As technology becomes a driving force in all businesses and facets of life, the future belongs to organizati­ons that can lead and leverage the digital revolution,” implying that RIL’s expansion into telecom and digital services is a step in that direction.

“In an unpredicta­ble and challengin­g environmen­t, agility and innovation are key to staying consistent­ly successful,” Ambani added.

RIL, which completed a record fundraisin­g in 2020, is planning to launch an affordable smartphone this year in partnershi­p with Google to stay ahead of the curve.

The new smartphone may have the potential to migrate 2G subscriber­s to 4G and also drive data consumptio­n, raising Reliance Jio’s average revenues per user.

Last fiscal year, Jio Platforms and Reliance Retail raised ₹1,52,056 crore and ₹47,265 crore respective­ly from strategic and financial investors, including Facebook and Google. RIL’s energy business partner BP invested ₹7,629 crore for a 49% stake in its fuel retailing business.

“We now have a strong balance sheet with high liquidity that will support growth plans for our three hyper-growth engines—Jio, retail, and oil to chemicals,” he said.

In the period 2020-21, RIL also completed India’s biggest rights issue worth ₹53,124 crore.

“Strong operating cash flow and the largest ever capital raise further strengthen­ed our balance sheet, enabling us to deleverage and meet our net-debt zero commitment ahead of the stated timeline,” Ambani said, adding that during the year, Reliance prepaid $7.8 billion of long-term foreign currency debt, after securing central bank approvals.

On the telecom front, Qualcomm and Jio successful­ly tested 5G solutions in India, achieving the 1 gbps milestone on Jio 5G solution, Ambani said. Reliance Retail’s new commerce initiative, JioMart, continues to grow in scale with more traffic, active users, and orders.

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