Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) today became the first Indian company to hit the ₹10 lakh crore milestone in market cap, after its shares rose to a record high of ₹1,581 apiece. The broader markets also hit a new high today. RIL shares have outperformed the market since the start of this year, surging nearly 40%.
Investors were encouraged after Mukesh Ambani announced plans to cut the company's net debt to zero in 18 months through measures including a stake sale in the oil-to-chemicals business to Saudi Aramco. Recently, its telecom arm Jio announced that it will increase tariffs in the next few weeks.
RIL operates the world's biggest oil-refining complex in Jamnagar, Gujarat, which can process low-quality crude and turn it into higher-grade fuels, partly protecting it from volatility in prices.
Last month, RIL had announced that it would invest over ₹100 lakh crore to create a digital services company as it seeks to cut debt at Jio, potentially making way for the entry of a strategic investor.
RIL will have rights to convert its ₹108 lakh crore investment in the new digital company into equity. The new unit will, in turn, invest the funds in Jio, making the telecoms venture almost net debt-free by the end of March 2020.
Last month, BofAML in a report said that RIL can become the first Indian company to achieve a market capitalisation of $200 billion on the back of its new commerce venture and fixed broadband business.
Oil-to-telecom conglomerate RIL is evolving from an integrated energy company into a consumer giant like China's Alibaba and potentially could rival likes of Amazon and Walmart, UBS had said in a report at the start of this year.
RIL had in August announced a deal that gives the European oil major a 49% stake in the Indian conglomerate's fuel retail business.
With likely receipt of ₹1.1 trillion from Aramco and BP in FY21, RIL is on course to achieve its target of zero net debt, says Edelweiss Securities, which has a buy rating on the stock with target price of ₹1,716/share.