RIL AGM 2022: Ambani to unveil 5G phone, spell out new, bigger energy plans



Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s (RIL) will hold its 45th Annual General Meeting (AGM) via video conferencing today at 2 pm on Monday, August 29. The AGM will see some key announcements, including the group’s 5G rollout timeline and launch of its JioPhone 5G. The future roadmap of some key businesses, such as retail, telecom and new energy, is also expected at the AGM.


At last year’s AGM, Ambani had launched the JioPhone Next, its first smartphone. The company had also laid out is new-energy blueprint with a Rs 75,000-crore investment over three years.


This year will see the company step up its investments in this area, as it pivots towards green energy. The AGM today could give an indication of where RIL intends to go with its new energy plans. This is important in view of recent developments on the policy front.


The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022, tabled and passed in Parliament earlier this month, proposes a mandatory threshold for consumption of green fuels such as green hydrogen, green ammonia, and biomass in all industries.


RIL had said earlier that it would bring down the cost of green hydrogen to $1 per kg (from $4-5 kg now) in under a decade. Deven Choksey, managing director at Mumbai-based brokerage KR Choksey, believes this target could be advanced as rivals such as Adani New Industries plan to invest over $50 billion (Rs 3.9 trillion) in the next 10 years in green hydrogen.


On 5G, RIL may provide a timeline on the rollout of its 5G services in 13 cities, starting with Delhi and Mumbai. Rival Bharti Airtel has already indicated that it will rollout 5G services by the end of August, increasing competitive intensity. Analysts also expect a slew of announcements by RIL pertaining to 5G enterprise and consumer mobility solutions at the AGM today.


The launch of the 5G phone by RIL will be the key highlight of the AGM, analysts say. Developed with the help of Google, the phone will be positioned as an affordable option to consumers, priced at around Rs 12,000 per unit and loaded with features, sector analysts said.


At the same time, the company may spell out its future plans for the retail and telecom businesses. The two verticals operate as separate units, namely, Jio Platforms and Ventures respectively.


While brokerage JP Morgan had said recently that it did not expect the company to give concrete timelines on initial public offerings of its retail and telecom businesses, it could offer some roadmap for the future.


Analysts also believe that the company may revive plans for an oil-to-chemicals (O2C) demerger, which was shelved last year.


“RIL had decided against proceeding with the demerger of its oil-to-chemicals business last year. But the company could revive the plan this year,” G Chokkalingam, founder and managing director (MD), Equinomics Research and Advisory, said.


“While crude oil prices have corrected recently over global slowdown concerns, tight supplies remain in focus,” he said.


In an earnings call following its June quarter results last month, RIL’s management had said oil demand would average 99.2 million barrels a day in 2022. This would be higher by 1.7 million barrels per day versus last year, which would help keep refining margins high, even as overall refining capacity across the world remained constrained.



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