Telecom major Reliance Jio on Sunday said it has received USD 2.2 billion fund support from Swedish Export Credit agency to finance equipment for 5G roll-out.
The company has largely procured telecom gears from Swedish firm Ericsson and Finnish company Nokia to deploy its 5G network.
“RJIL tied up its first-ever Swedish Export Credit Agency (EKN) supported facilities of USD 2.2 billion equivalent, making it the largest cover ever provided by EKN for a deal to a private corporate globally. The proceeds of the facilities shall be utilised to finance the equipment and services in relation to RJIL’s pan-India 5G roll-out,” Reliance Industries Limited said in its annual report.
While there has been a decline in telecom gear shipment across major geographies, 5G roll-out in India led by Reliance Jio has been able to offset dip in business of Ericsson and Nokia.
Jio claims to have around 80 per cent share in total 5G base stations rolled out across the country by March 2023 and providing 5G service with an average download speed of 300 megabit per second.
Jio said that it is now providing wireless broadband services in about 6.2 lakh rural villages.
The digital service provider firm added over 70,000 employees during financial year 2022-23, as per the report.
Ambani sets sights on financial services
After creating India’s largest retailers and telecom operator in the shortest span of time, billionaire Mukesh Ambani has now set his sight on propelling newly-carved financial services business unit into country’s largest non-banking lender while transitioning the conglomerate to net carbon zero by 2035.
The recently demerged Jio Financial Services Ltd will leverage the prowess of digital and retail businesses, Ambani said in the latest annual report of Reliance Industries Ltd.
The unit, which “will leverage the technological capabilities of Reliance and digitally deliver financial services, democratising access to financial services offering for Indian citizens”, is expected to be listed soon, he said.
“The demerger of the financial services business into JFS and planned listing on the stock exchanges promises to unlock value.”
JFS’s digital-first approach will help deliver distinctively simple, affordable, innovative and intuitive financial services products to all Indians, the annual report said without saying when the recently demerged firm would be listed.
A guidance may be provided in the annual shareholders’ meeting of Reliance on August 28.
The new firm, which has little revenue as of now but owns 6.1 per cent stake in Reliance, last month announced partnership with BlackRock to set up a mutual funds business.
“Jio Financial Services aims to provide simple, affordable and innovative digital first solutions,” Ambani said. “Jio Financial Services Limited is positioned uniquely to capture the growth opportunities in the financial services sector and play a crucial role in transforming the landscape of digital finance in India.”
Ambani has a track record of transforming businesses. He pivoted the oil-dependent conglomerate into consumer facing business of retail stores and e-commerce as well as its re-entry into telecom business.
Reliance Retail is now the country’s biggest retailer while Reliance Jio is the largest telecom company with about 430 million subscribers. Prior to that, he created the world’s largest oil refining complex at Jamnagar in Gujarat and turned the firm founded by his father Dhirubhai Ambani into India’s largest petrochemical producer.
Reliance is building world-scale assets to produce new-age material, green energy, green chemicals, transforming its oil-to-chemical (O2C) business into a more sustainable model targeting circularity and net carbon zero.
“We, at Reliance, have a deep-rooted belief that sustainability is an integral part of enterprise growth,” Ambani said. “Our goal is to become net carbon zero by 2035.”
Reliance is investing Rs 75,000 crore spanning renewables, storage and hydrogen, including what it claims will be the world’s largest green energy equipment ‘giga-complex’ and a 100-gigawatt capacity goal.
“The development of giga factories at the Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex at Jamnagar is progressing rapidly,” Ambani said. “The transition from traditional fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is going to be a crucial milestone in our history.”
Reliance, he said, has a proven record of creating value through transformational changes, be it the digital revolution through Jio, transforming consumer experience and the retail landscape in India or the integration of refining and petrochemicals businesses into the oil to chemicals value chain.
The company said its first-ever green hydrogen production was achieved with firing of torrefied biomass in gasifiers during the year ended March.
It expects to start transitioning from grey to green hydrogen in 2025.
“Reliance, as a company, has grown multifold by delivering value to the citizens, the country and global community. Our products are ingrained in the lives of the citizens and are an integral part of their daily routines. Our various businesses have always identified the needs of the society and worked towards devising and making available timely and affordable solutions,” Ambani said.
“The current needs of the society are sustainable solutions which can tackle climate change through affordable green energy and inclusive growth. Our initiatives in new energy businesses and our consumer businesses are aimed at meeting societal needs and aspirations,” he added.
Reliance Retail crosses billion transactions in FY23
Reliance Retail has crossed the milestone of a billion transactions in FY23 and its registered customer base reached 249 million, said the latest annual report of Reliance Industries.
In FY23, Reliance Retail’s digital commerce and new commerce businesses contributed to 18 per cent of its revenue, which stood at Rs 2.60 lakh crore.
The company added 3,300 new stores, taking the total count to 18,040 stores with a total area of 65.6 million square feet and has plans to “continue to expand reach into Tier 2 and 3 markets through store network expansion”.
“The business crossed the milestone of 1 billion transactions in FY 2022-23, up 42 per cent Y-o-Y. Stores recorded footfalls of over 780 million, which were up 50 per cent Y-o-Y,” said Reliance Industries’ annual report.
Moreover, Reliance Retail which witnessed “unprecedented growth of retail footprint” is also investing in the backend warehousing and logistics assets of its retail business.
“Investments in boosting supply chain infrastructure remained a priority to deepen warehousing and fulfilment capabilities with the addition of 12.6 million sq ft of warehouse space during the year,” it said.
Besides, Reliance Retail which had forayed into the FMCG, relaunching the iconic beverage brand Campa and its own brand ‘Independence’, has plans to expand it.
Its beauty business also launched the digital commerce platform ‘Tira’ and opened its flagship store in Mumbai.
“These businesses will be ramped up progressively in the coming period,” said the annual report.
The business also expanded its product basket through acquisitions and partnerships at both local and global levels like Metro, Campa Cola, GAP, Pret A Manger, Lotus, Sosyo, Maliban and Toffeeman.
Reliance Retail runs an integrated network of physical stores, digital commerce and new commerce initiatives. Its digital brands like Ajio and Netmeds are scaling up at a “rapid pace” and contributing to the strong growth of the retail segment.
According to the company, growth in new commerce business has been fast-paced with rapid expansion of its merchant partner network.
“Currently, more than 3 million merchants have partnered with our new commerce platforms,” it said.
Reliance Retail has best-in-class technology adoption for driving operational efficiencies. It is using “Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning driven decision-making models help in improving customer experience,” it said.
Over its strategic priorities, the retail business of billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries will continue to expand its reach into the smaller tier II & III markets by adding more stores in those regions.
Besides, it will also “scale up digital commerce and new commerce businesses by offering widest catalogue and superior value”.
It would also continue to “build new capabilities by strategic acquisition and partnerships with international and Indian brands”, the report added.
Over the retail sector, Reliance said factors such as favourable demographics, rising income levels, a rising share of urbanisation, access to better education and aspirational lifestyle are driving consumption growth in the country.
“These trends are a force multiplier for the Indian retail sector which currently stands at over USD 800 billion and is expected to grow at 11 per cent CAGR to become a USD 2 trillion market by 2030,” it said.
Reliance Retail envisions expanding its offerings and scale of operations to make products available to Indian consumers at affordable prices, the report added.