• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Ambani, Indian tycoon, threatens to topple Zuckerberg on global rich list

Mukesh Ambani

When Facebook decided to invest $5.7 billion (Rs 43,574 crore) in Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Platforms this past April, its co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg would not have imagined the Indian tycoon would soon become so big as to threaten his own position on the global billionaires’ list!

A strong rally in the shares of Reliance Industries (RIL) has lifted promoter Mukesh Ambani to the fourth spot in the list of world’s top billionaires, right behind Zuckerberg.

Ambani’s wealth stood at $80.60 billion on Friday, up by a whopping $22 billion so far this year. He has just got past French billionaire Bernard Arnault, who leads luxury goods company Louis Vuitton. Zuckerberg’s total wealth currently is pegged at $102 billion; he has added $23.3 billion so far this year.

Alphabet (Google), another big investor in Jio Platforms, pumped in $4.5 billion, or Rs 33,737 crore, into the venture for a 7.73% stake. Founders Larry Page ($71.8 billion) and Sergey Brin ($69.1 billion) are placed eighth and ninth on the billionaires list. Page added $6.72 billion to his wealth this year and Brin $6.44 billion.

The rise in Ambani’s wealth was due to a sharp 147 per cent surge in RIL shares from the March low of Rs 867. On Friday, the stock rose 0.57 per cent to close at Rs 2,146, giving Ambani’s fortune a $326 million lift, Bloomberg Billionaire index showed.

As of Friday, every 1 per cent rise in the RIL stock was adding $920 million, or Rs 6,900 crore to Ambani’s wealth. That number will keep on growing as the base rises. At the end of June quarter, promoter holding in RIL stood at 50.37 per cent; Ambani alone owns a little less than 50 per cent.

The consumer business will be the key growth driver going forward. Post June quarter, we tweak our FY22-23 EPS by 5-6 per cent but our price target remains unchanged at Rs 2,355,” the brokerage said.

Other things remaining the same, Ambani’s wealth would need a 26.55 per cent bumpup to equal that of Zuckerberg.

Shares of five other Reliance group firms – Den Networks, Hathway Bhawani Cabletel & Datacom, Hathway Cable & Datacom, Network 18 Media & Investment and Reliance Industrial Infrastructure – have risen anywhere between 40 per cent and 800 per cent this year, but given the size, they do not add much to Ambani’s huge wealth.

After the recent spurt, some analysts have turned cautious on the RIL stock but most continue to maintain their positive stance on it. That said, most price targets for RIL do not suggest a huge rally from current level in the short term.

BofA Securities on Friday said the risk-reward for RIL stock remains favourable.

It estimates the conglomerate to generate 48 per cent Ebitda from the oil-to-chemicals vertical in FY22 against 74 per cent at present. On the other hand, Ebitda from the consumer businesses is expected to rise to 52 per cent by FY22 from 26 per cent in FY19.

“The consumer business will be the key growth driver going forward. Post June quarter, we tweak our FY22-23 EPS by 5-6 per cent but our price target remains unchanged at Rs 2,355,” the brokerage said. That target suggests nearly 10 per cent potential upside.

RIL’s market capitalisation stood at Rs 13,60,880 crore on Friday. RIL rights entitlement shares, which got listed in June, are now valued at Rs 52,378 crore, pushing total m-cap of RIL to over Rs 14 lakh crore, 9 per cent of BSE’s total market value of Rs 150 lakh crore.

“The RIL stock was flattish between December 2009 and 2016. Since then, it has rallied four times. The recent fund raise, deleveraging of balance sheet and several initiatives in digital and consumer businesses has aided sentiment and earned the stock re-ratings,” Motilal Oswal Securities said in a recent note.

CLSA expects RIL’s market-cap to rise to $220 billion by March 2022. It, however, warned: “While its long-term promise and underweight position in portfolios may support the stock price, large valuation surprises may be difficult in the near term.”

Morgan Stanley sees RIL’s m-cap at $200 billion in its bull case scenario. “A combination of $11 per barrel gross refinery margin (vs $8.5 at present), a Rs 220 Arpu (vs Rs 138 now ), and $50 a barrel oil by FY22 at current capacity would be key to touch out bull case of Rs 2,175 and rise to at Rs 2,222 ($200 billion in m-cap),” it said.

Goldman Sachs said the oil-to-telecom major has doubled Ebitda over last four years and believes the company has the potential to double Ebitda again by FY25, as consumer businesses are on the cusp of a strong growth phase.

“The consumer businesses should deliver Ebitda growth of 30 per cent CAGR over FY20-25 and contribute over 50 per cent of Ebitda starting FY23, reaching 60 per cent by FY25. This compares with 35 per cent in FY20 and 15 per cent in FY18,” it said, suggesting a price target of Rs 2,345 for the stock.

“The risk-reward remains positive with 45 per cent upside in our bull case and 12 per cent downside in our bear case scenarios,” Goldman Sachs said.

RIL is entering a strong free cash flow (FCF) generation phase, said JM Financial. “Major capex has been completed and there are expectations of strong 17-18 per cent EPS growth CAGR over next 3-5 years led by digital and retail businesses.,” it said.