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Shareholders to pay 25% for subscribing to Reliance Industries’ Rs 53,125 crore rights issue now

Reliance Industries shareholders will have to pay only 25 per cent for subscribing to the company’s mega Rs 53,125-crore rights issue, and the balance will have to be paid in two installments in May and November next year, the company said.

Oil-to-telecom conglomerate’s rights issue will open for subscription of shareholders on May 20 and will close on June 3. One share will be offered for every 15 shares held at Rs 1,257.

Of the Rs 1,257 per share price, only 25 per cent is to be paid at the time of subscription. A similar amount will be due for payment in May 2021 and the balance 50 per cent has to be paid in November 2021, the company said in a regulatory filing.

“The rights issue committee of the board of directors, in its meeting held on May 17, 2020, has proposed the following schedule for payment of the balance amount of Rs 942.75 per rights equity share – Rs 314.25 i.e. 25 per cent in May 2021; and Rs 628.50 i.e. the balance 50 per cent in November 2021,” it said.

The board, it said, would make the calls for this purpose at the relevant time.

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s firm had on April 30 announced fund raising of Rs 53,125 crore by way of a 1:15 rights issue – India’s biggest and first such issue by the firm in nearly three decades.

One share will be offered for every 15 shares held at Rs 1,257, a 14 per cent discount to the closing price for April 30. Reliance Industries’ share price has since risen to Rs 1,458.90 (Friday’s closing price), but rights issue price remains the same.

Typically, cash-strapped companies use rights issues to raise money when they really need it. In these rights offerings, companies grant shareholders the right, but not the obligation, to buy new shares at a discount to the current trading price.

But for Reliance Industries (RIL), it is not about raising funds as it has significant liquidity with USD 23.4 billion of cash and equivalent.

It is being seen as an attempt to reward the shareholders, cut debt at the group and promoters faith in the Reliance growth story. Promoter Ambani family has under-written the entire rights issue, pledging to buy shares that are unsubscribed.

The last time RIL tapped the public for funds was in 1991 when it had issued convertible debentures. The debentures were subsequently converted into equity shares at Rs 55 apiece.

Mukesh Ambani had in August last year unveiled plans to cut debt to zero by 2021. As part of this plan, RIL has been seeking strategic partnerships across its businesses while targeting to deleverage the balance sheet.

At the end of March quarter, RIL had an outstanding debt of Rs 3,36,294 crore. It also had cash in hand of Rs 1,75,259 crore, bringing the net debt position to Rs 1,61,035 crore.

As part of its balance sheet deleveraging plans, Reliance has sold minority stake in its digital unit, Jio Platforms to likes of Facebook. It is also talking to Saudi Aramco for selling a fifth of its oil-to-chemicals business for an asking of USD 15 billion and has sold half of its fuel retail venture to BP Plc for Rs 7,000 crore and telecommunication tower business to Brookfield for Rs 25,200 crore.

Together, proceeds from these transactions will result in a reduction in RIL’s net debt.

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