After raising more than $20 billion for his digital venture in three months, billionaire Mukesh Ambani is readying his retail unit for global partners, as his oil-to-petrochemicals conglomerate turns to India’s billion-plus consumers for growth.
Asia’s richest man and the chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd. told shareholders Wednesday that Reliance Retail Ltd. is getting inquiries from investors and may start bringing some on board in the coming months. The legacy petrochemicals business is also getting attention from potential investors even though a proposed stake sale to Aramco isn’t proceeding as planned, he said.
“We’ve received strong interest from strategic and financial investors in Reliance Retail,” Ambani told the 300,000-plus people who logged into the virtual conference from 41 countries. “We will induct global partners and investors in Reliance Retail in the next few quarters.”
The 63-year-old tycoon has identified technology and retail as future growth areas in a pivot away from the energy businesses he inherited from his father who died in 2002. Retail is the next frontier for Ambani, who just finished selling almost 33% of his digital venture over the past three months to a slew of investors including Silicon Valley giants Facebook Inc. and Google, valuing Jio Platforms Ltd. at $58 billion.
Reliance Retail, which runs supermarkets, India’s largest consumer electronics chain store, a cash and carry wholesaler, fast-fashion outlets and an online grocery store called JioMart, reported 1.63 trillion rupees ($22 billion) in revenue in the year through March 2020. The unit operates almost 12,000 stores in nearly 7,000 towns.