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Wednesday, March 18, 2009


The big piece of news from India’s corporate world this past weekend has been the merger of two companies under the Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Group. The news broke & developed over and was a done deal by the time the weekend was over. In every sense the affair has been handled in true Reliance style – quickly, efficiently and without making too much of a fuss. The integration of Reliance Petroleum Limited into Reliance Industries is being handled with a lot of care. Considering the ease with which Reliance has started to pull this off has been commendable.
The company has been careful enough to make sure that they do not get into the bad books of their shareholders.Tackling integration requires managing the priorities of both the companies being integrated. In this case the interests of the shareholders of both Reliance Industries and Reliance Petroleum have been safeguarded.
Mukesh Ambani in a statement was quick to point out that the deal would create “shareholder value”.
Shareholders themselves are pretty satisfied with the merger of Reliance Industries and Reliance Petroleum. They get to be part of a bigger entity with a much more simplified company structure.
Reliance Petroleum being the refining arm of Reliance Industries no longer needs to be kept separate from the company’s core business of oil and gas exploration and marketing.
By integrating the refinery business into the main fold they will be able to function as before with the petroleum wing being an internal subsidiary.
All that Reliance had to do was to simply re-purchase a 5% stake in Reliance Petroleum which until now belonged to Chevron. This being successful allows the company to increase its stake to seventy five percent in RPL thus making the merger a matter of detail.
RIL has agreed upon a price of Rs.60/share to buy Chevron’s stake in RPL. By no means has the company overpaid. In fact they’ve paid the IPO launch price for the stake. Shareholders can therefore be satisfied that the company has not overspent.
Reliance has also been fair with the share distribution ratio for RPL shareholders.The company has decided to fix the ratio of RPL to RIL shares at 16:1.
The ratio is a fair reflection of the current market value of both the companies.Therefore the shareholders have not been crossed in this matter as well.Small investors and fund managers alike agree on the ratio being a good deal thus the merger should not face any serious problems in the future.
RPL has just recently started commercial production. From a financial point of view it does depend on its parent company RIL for funds and easy credit access. The channel for credit being much simpler now that both companies come under the same name is a good move.
The RIL-RPL combine also catapults RIL higher into the list of the world’s biggest refining companies.Ironically RIL now replaces and gets ahead of Chevron which decided to exit its stake in RPL

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