Oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd on Saturday said its mega Rs 53,125 crore rights issue will open for subscription of shareholders on May 20 and close on June 3.
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 the first such issue by the firm in nearly three decades.
Reliance had earlier fixed May 14 as the record date for determining shareholders’ eligible to apply for the issue.
In a regulatory filing, the company said the rights issue committee of the board of directors at its meet on May 15 approved issue opening on May 20 and closing date of June 3.
“Abridged letter of offer, application form of rights issue, and rights entitlement letter, to be sent to the eligible equity shareholders of the company,” it said.
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 share price has since risen to Rs 1,458.90 (Friday’s closing price) but rights issue price remains the same.
The proposed rights issuance will be the first by Reliance in three decades. 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, 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 underscore 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 Reliance 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.
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 reduction in RIL’s net debt.