RIL announces biggest buyback, share up 5%

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) will go for one of its biggest every share buyout programs, which could possibly become one of the biggest such programs in the Indian corporate history.

This move to buy back shares comes at a time when RIL is looking to boost its share price which has walked on a receding graph over the last year. However, even in the anticipation of the event, RIL saw an immediate 5% shoot in its share price on Wednesday, increasing shareholder wealth between Rs. 11,950 crore to Rs. 2.54 lakh crore.

A buyback involves repurchase of outstanding shares by a company, either through a tender offer or an open market purchase, usually to off set the decline in value of shares available with the company by reducing the number of outstanding shares. While RIL has not yet specified the quantum of shares it is planning to buy back or a timeline, it has filed a notice with the exchange for its upcoming plans. Many industry analysts speculate that this buyout may just rescue RIL out is diminishing profit graph. According to Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), a company is allowed to repurchase its shares worth up to 10% of its paid-up capital without shareholder approval and 25% with shareholder resolution. RIL’s proposed buy back corpus is estimated to be around Rs. 15,000 crore (without shareholder approval) or Rs.25, 000 crore (with shareholder approval).It is speculated that Reliance will make use of its $12 billion cash and cash equivalent assets to sponsor this buyout program. The last time Reliance Industries pulled off a major buy back plan was back in December 2004 when it repurchased and extinguished 28.69 lakh shares worth Rs. 150 crore.

If this program is to materialize in its absolute terms, it will not only boost RIL’s share price, it will also signal strong growth prospects to investors and promoters of the company, even if it chooses not to spend the entire corpus it has set aside for repurchase.Reliance has been trying to ramp-up the declining output from its prolific KG-D6 gas field, and because the process will take time to show favorable implications on RIL’s tock valuation, within that time, a buyout is being considered as good prospect. Also, if the estimated premium of 10-15% is being considered over current stock prices, the value of RIL shares could trail north in the range of Rs. 850-900 per share.

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