Business Economy Technology

Experts Laud RIL-Adani Deal as Boost for India’s Power Sector

The power sector experts hoped that many more such collaborations will take place in the wake of a further push by the Centre and different state governments to liberalise the sector….reports Asian Lite News

Power sector experts on Friday hailed the collaboration between the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and the Adani Group headed by Gautam Adani following RIL’s move to pick up 26 per cent stake in Adani Group’s power plant in Madhya Pradesh.

They claimed that it is one of the major chapters in India’s power sector, especially with its installed capacity of 4,28,000 MW and an ambitious plan to add 500,000 MW of renewable energy capacity by 2030.

The power sector experts hoped that many more such collaborations will take place in the wake of a further push by the Centre and different state governments to liberalise the sector.

As per the collaboration, RIL will purchase 26 per cent in Mahan Energen, a subsidiary of Adani Power, for Rs 50 crore and procure 500 MW of electricity for the Madhya Pradesh plant.

According to Adani Power, one of the 600 MW capacity of the Mahan thermal power plant in Madhya Pradesh will be designated as a captive unit as per the stipulated norms.

Commenting on the development, former Power Secretary R.V. Shahi said, “The collaboration between two of the largest groups in the country is bound to provide a fillip to not only such cooperations, but also to other collaborative efforts, leading to even higher heights of success.”

“What has been achieved post the Electricity Act, 2003 is more than three times of what was achieved during the 50 years prior to that,” he added.

“This is the era of renewable energy, which is also facilitated by the de-licensing of power generation which took the growth in the power sector to a different orbit. By 2032, we are geared to achieve more 800,000 MW of capacity.

“The entire capacity could be doubled in the following 10 years after 2032, taking the capacity to more than 1,500 GW. This will be at the core of India’s development strategy of raising the GDP to $5 trillion and subsequently higher,” said Shahi.

Ashok Khurana, Director General, Association of Power Producers, said “This collaboration has happened because of the liberalised captive power supply framework coupled with the change in transmission licensing system, where the consumers have been allowed transmission licences while the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission has simplified the procedures for the same. In fact, we will see many such collaborations coming up between the generators and the consumers.”

Jayant Deo, a former member of the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), asserted that the two top business houses of India collaborating in the power sector is a good omen for the country’s march towards energy security.

The Founder of the Independent Power Producers Association of India, Harry Dhaul, pointed out that such collaborations are positive steps for the growth of the Indian power sector from the energy security point of view.

Long-Term Power Purchase Agreement Sealed

An investment agreement has been entered into among Mahan Energen Limited (MEL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Adani Power Limited (APL), Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and APL, in terms of which RIL has agreed to subscribe and MEL has agreed to allot 5 crore equity shares with face value of Rs 10 each to RIL at par.

RIL said in a filing that the proposed investment by the company is in compliance with the provisions of Electricity Rules, 2005 in terms of which the company, as a captive user, is required to own 26 per cent proportionate ownership in one unit of MEL of 600 MW capacity, with RIL being the captive user of 500 MW generation capacity.

RIL and MEL have entered into a 20-year long term power purchase agreement for this purpose, RIL said.

MEL, a company engaged in generation and supply of power, was incorporated on October 19, 2005. The turnover of MEL, as per its audited standalone financial statement, for financial years 2022-23, 2021-22 and 2020-21 was Rs 2,730.68 crore, Rs 1,393.59 crore and Rs 692.03 crore, respectively.

“The investment is not a related party transaction and none of the company’s promoter/promoter group/group companies have any interest in the said investment,” RIL said.

“The investment is subject to customary conditions precedent including receipt of requisite approvals by MEL and is expected to be completed within 2 weeks of receipt of completion of conditions precedent and receipt of such approvals by MEL,” RIL said.

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Reliance Buys 13.01% of Viacom18

Post the completion of this transaction, Reliance Industries equity stake in Viacom18 will increase to 70.49 per cent …reports Asian Lite News

Reliance Industries has signed an agreement to acquire 13.01 per cent equity stake of Viacom 18 Media Private Limited (Viacom18) held by Paramount Global through its two subsidiaries for an aggregate consideration of Rs 4,286 crore.

Viacom18 is a material subsidiary of TV18 Broadcast Limited. Reliance Industries currently holds Compulsorily Convertible Preference Shares of Viacom18 representing 57.48 per cent equity stake (on a fully diluted basis).

Post the completion of this transaction, Reliance Industries equity stake in Viacom18 will increase to 70.49 per cent (on a fully diluted basis). The acquisition is not a related party transaction and none of the company’s promoter/promoter group/group companies have any interest in the acquisition, Reliance Industries said in a filing.

On February 28, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), Viacom 18 Media Private Limited (Viacom18) and The Walt Disney Company (Disney) announced the signing of binding definitive agreements to form a joint venture (JV) that will combine the businesses of Viacom18 and Star India.

As part of the transaction, the media undertaking of Viacom18 will be merged into Star India Private Limited (SIPL) through a court approved scheme of arrangement. In addition, RIL has agreed to invest at closing Rs 11,500 crore ($ 1.4 billion) into the JV for its growth strategy.

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Business Economy India News

‘Reliance to Spearhead Gujarat’s Growth’

Mukesh Ambani emphasised that Reliance is committed to helping Gujarat become a global leader in sustainable Green Growth…reports Asian Lite News

Reliance will continue to play a leading role in Gujarat’s growth story with significant investments in the next 10 years, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Mukesh Ambani said on Wednesday at the 10th Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2024 in Ahmedabad.

Ambani said specifically, Reliance will contribute to making Gujarat a global leader in Green Growth.

“We will help Gujarat’s target to meet half of its energy needs through renewable energy by the year 2030.For this, we have started building the Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex over 5,000 acres in Jamnagar.

“This will generate a large number of green jobs and enable production of green products and materials and will make Gujarat a leading exporter of Green Products. And we are ready to commission this in the second half of 2024 itself,” he added.

Reliance Jio completed the fastest rollout of 5G infrastructure anywhere in the world.

“Today Gujarat is fully 5G enabled – something that most of the world does not yet have. This will make Gujarat a Global Leader in Digital Data Platforms and AI Adoption. 5G-enabled AI revolution will make Gujarat’s economy more productive, more efficient and more globally competitive,” Ambani said.

“Besides generating millions of new employment opportunities, it will produce AI enabled Doctors, AI enabled Teachers and AI enabled Farming, which will revolutionise Healthcare, Education and Agricultural productivity in the State of Gujarat.”

Ambani further said that Reliance’s Retail will further accelerate its mission to bring quality products to consumers and simultaneously empower lakhs of kisans and small merchants.

Reliance will make Gujarat a pioneer in New Materials and the Circular Economy, he said, adding that as a first step, Reliance is setting up India’s first and world-class Carbon Fibre facility at Hazira.

He also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that India will bid for 2036 Olympics.

“In preparation for that, Reliance and Reliance Foundation will join forces with several other partners in Gujarat to improve education, sports and skills infrastructure that will nurture the champions of tomorrow in various Olympics sports.

“Today, let me declare yet again: Reliance was, is, and will always remain a Gujarati company. Each of Reliance’s business is striving to fulfil the dreams of my seven crore fellow Gujaratis,” he added.

“Reliance has invested over $150 billion (Rs 12 lakh crore) in creating world-class assets and capacities across India in the last 10 years. Of this, more than one third has been invested in Gujarat alone.”

Ambani further said the Vibrant Gujarat Summit is the most prestigious investor summit in the world today.

“No other summit of this kind has continued for 20 long years — and going from strength to strength. This is a tribute to our Prime Minister Shri Narendrabhai Modi’s vision and consistency.

When foreigners think of New India, they think of a New Gujarat. How did this transformation happen? Because of one leader. Our beloved leader who has emerged as the greatest global leader of our times. And he is Shri Narendrabhai Modi, the most successful Prime Minister in India’s history,” Ambani said.

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Ambani Outlines Compelling Future for Reliance

Amidst the growing family of Reliance, Mukesh Ambani emphasized the enduring essence of being “Dhirubhai’s Family” and pledged to uphold the timeless family values instilled by the founder…reports Asian Lite News

In a speech at the Reliance Family Day celebration, Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Limited, shared his reflections on the legacy of the company’s founding chairman, Dhirubhai Ambani, and outlined a compelling vision for Reliance’s future.

Mukesh Ambani began by expressing gratitude and extending a warm evening greeting to the vast Reliance family assembled to celebrate Dhirubhai Ambani’s birthday.

Amidst the growing family of Reliance, Mukesh Ambani emphasized the enduring essence of being “Dhirubhai’s Family” and pledged to uphold the timeless family values instilled by the founder.

Highlighting Reliance’s core values encapsulated in the WE CARE philosophy–Integrity, Excellence, Empathy, Cooperation, and a commitment to a better tomorrow–Ambani underscored their significance.

Ambani said, “Today, the domestic and global environments for business are changing very fast. There is simply no room for complacency. Reliance was never complacent in the past, and Reliance will never be complacent in future. We are known for disrupting the market through constant innovation and reinvention. We have shown the courage to set the bar high, and the ability to jump even higher to create new records. This is how Reliance has achieved perennial growth”.

“WE CARE for the Planet and Humanity; WE CARE for our Mother India and every single Indian,” he affirmed, setting the tone for the evening.

Reflecting on his more than two decades at the helm of Reliance, Ambani expressed pride in leading the company and acknowledged the immense talent within the organization. Describing Reliance employees as an “army of immensely talented individuals,” he credited them with working wonders daily, contributing to the company’s success.

Ambani said, “As India races ahead to become the world’s third-largest economy, an unprecedented opportunity awaits Reliance. Reliance can …. and Reliance will … grow to be among the Top 10 business conglomerates of the world. We must always provide extreme value to our customers. We must unfailingly exceed their expectations, through collaboration and systems improvement”.

“You are my perpetual Recharge Battery,” Ambani stated, acknowledging the team’s role in renewing his enthusiasm, boosting his energy, and reaffirming the purpose set by the founder.

Addressing the dynamic and evolving business landscape, Ambani stressed that there is no room for complacency. Reliance, he declared, has a history of disrupting markets through constant innovation and reinvention.

“We have shown the courage to set the bar high and the ability to jump even higher to create new records,” he affirmed, reiterating Reliance’s commitment to perpetual growth and its motto, “Growth is Life.”

Ambani said, “Trust is that hard-won intangible asset that transforms commerce into culture. Trust elevates a momentary business transaction to an enduring heart-to-heart relationship. Through all our businesses, and through the rapidly expanding activities of Reliance Foundation, let us make Reliance No. 1 corporate on the parameter of Customer Love and Community Trust”.

With India poised to become the world’s third-largest economy, Ambani outlined Reliance’s unprecedented opportunity to be among the top 10 global conglomerates. He outlined three key focus areas.

Ambani emphasized providing extreme value to customers, exceeding their expectations, and creating products and services that set new benchmarks.

Building on Dhirubhai’s teachings, Ambani stressed the importance of continuously winning the trust of the communities Reliance operates in, transforming commerce into culture.

Ambani urged continuous enhancement of competencies and capabilities at all levels, ensuring exponential growth and contributing to India’s inclusive prosperity.

As the year drew to a close, Ambani shared three key messages for the upcoming year, summarizing them as “Three Consolidations”.

Amabani said, “Let me summarise them as Three Consolidations- let us consolidate Reliance’s place among Global Leaders in Digital Data Platforms and AI Adoption, let us consolidate Reliance’s place among Global Leaders in Talent Enrichment, let us consolidate Reliance’s place among Global Leaders in Institutional Culture”.

“In the Era of Digital Platforms, data has become a new Factor of Production along with Talent and Money. We need to be at the forefront of using data, with AI as an enabler for achieving a quantum jump in productivity and efficiency”, said Ambani.

He added, “All our growth engines of Reliance – Digital Services, Green and Bio-Energy, Retail and Consumer Brands, O2C & Materials business, and Health and Life Sciences — will have to complete this transformation by the time we meet next year”.

Ambani envisioned consolidating Reliance’s position among global leaders in these domains, leveraging data and AI for enhanced decision-making and efficiency across all business sectors.

He stressed the importance of building talent, skillsets, and competencies at all levels, making Reliance’s talent pool among the best globally.

Institutional Culture: Ambani expressed pride in Reliance’s culture and emphasized the need to work with a “Founder’s Mindset,” encouraging a culture of trust, empowerment, and mentorship, especially among the younger generation.

Ambani concluded his speech by urging everyone to take a pledge never to stop dreaming, believing in those dreams, and chasing them with positivity, discipline, resolve, confidence, hard work, and mutual support.

He emphasized Reliance’s forward-facing approach, unburdened by the past, and encouraged the family to build on the tradition of making Reliance a happy, caring, and super-creative family.

As the year transitioned from 2023 to 2024, Mukesh Ambani, joined by his family, extended warm wishes for a glorious and happy new year to the entire Reliance family.

The speech left a sense of optimism, ambition, and unity as Reliance looks ahead to new milestones and achievements in the coming year. (ANI)

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Business India News West Bengal

Reliance’s $2.4Bn Bengal Plan

Mukesh Ambani said India is racing ahead to become $10 trillion economy by 2030, and Bengal alone has the potential to become a trillion-dollar economy in the near future…reports Asian Lite News

Mukesh Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Industries, announced the group’s intention to inject an extra Rs 20,000 crore into West Bengal within the next three years.

Speaking at the seventh edition of Bengal Global Business Summit, Mukesh Ambani said the additional investment will be in the areas of digital life solutions, retail and bio-energy.

Mukesh Ambani said India is racing ahead to become $10 trillion economy by 2030, and Bengal alone has the potential to become a trillion-dollar economy in the near future.

“Today, from this podium, let me assure you that Reliance will leave no stone unturned to accelerate Bengal’s growth. Bengal has been one of the largest investment destinations for Reliance. After you invited me, Reliance has invested close to Rs. 45,000 crores in West Bengal. Today, I am happy to announce that we plan to invest an additional Rs. 20,000 crores in the next three years,” he said.

“These will be in three areas: First is to further enhance digital life solutions aimed at augmenting livelihoods in Bengal, and providing quality education, healthcare, and agricultural solutions at scale. JIO is about to complete the world’s fastest 5G rollout in India before the end of this year that is 2023. And we have covered most parts of Bengal,” he added.

He said Reliance Retail is also increasing its footprint in the state. “Our network of nearly 1000 Retail stores will expand to over 1200 within the next two years. Our retail business is supporting hundreds of MSMEs. We are bringing national fame to many regional brands of Bengal.

“Thanks to Jio Mart, 5.50 lakh kirana merchants in the State have been brought under the umbrella of modern organised retail, bringing them higher productivity, income and benefits of scale. We currently operate nearly 20 lakh square foot of warehouses in Bengal. And this will increase manifold,” Mukesh Ambani said.

He said Reliance has become India’s largest Bio-Energy producer, based on the company’s own indigenous developed technology.

“We target to establish 100 compressed biogas (CBG) plants in the next three years, consuming 5.5 million tonnes of agricultural residue and organic waste. We will also help farmers to grow energy plantations on a large scale. This would help mitigate nearly 2 million tonnes of carbon emissions and produce 2.5 million tonnes of organic manure annually,” he said.

“We are planning to set up CBG plants in Bengal that will enable Bengal farmers to increase their incomes. With our current and new investments in these three businesses, Reliance will march together with the great people of Bengal towards a future of shared prosperity, technological innovation, inclusivity, and harmony,” he added.

Mukesh Ambani lauded Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, saying the state is today standing taller — more vibrant and more confident of scaling greater summits of success in the future–and this “transformation has taken place because of your visionary, strong and determined leadership”.

“Which is why, the people of Bengal have chosen you to lead them again and again…,” he added.

The RIL Chairman and MD said a prosperous Bengal will again become India’s gateway to South-East and Far-East Asia.

He also said that the Reliance Foundation “is deeply committed to participate in the resurgence of a Glorious Bengal”.

“Reliance Foundation has taken up an ambitious project to renovate and restore the famous Kalighat Temple in Kolkata, which is the seat of the reigning deity of Bengal. We are in the process of repairing the entire Temple Complex including the centuries old heritage structures and restoring the same to their original glory.”

Mukesh Ambani said Reliance Foundation is working together with the state government to make Biswa Bangla’s “high-quality handicrafts and handloom products available throughout all our retail channels across India”.

He said Reliance Foundation plans to set up a training institute in Bengal with the cooperation of the state government for the benefit of the younger generation of craftsmen.

Mukesh Ambani said he has no hesitation in recommending Bengal “as an ideal investment destination to all fellow investors and global businessmen”.

The seventh edition of the Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS) kicked off with grandeur on Tuesday.

This summit serves as a cornerstone event for the West Bengal government, bringing together global corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, business delegations, academia, and think tanks to explore strategic alliances and gain insights into the state’s “burgeoning industrial ecosystem”. (ANI)

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Business Economy Tech Lite

Reliance Speeds Up Net Zero Journey

The company has a continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS) that enables adherence to local standards for SOx, NOx, and TPM emissions….reports Asian Lite News

RIL’s air emissions across various categories came down markedly during FY23 from the FY22 levels despite growing production and energy consumption.

The company has a continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS) that enables adherence to local standards for SOx, NOx, and TPM emissions.

Reliance continues to meet its growing energy demands with sources that have minimal environmental impacts. Reliance achieved a 115 per cent jump in its renewable energy consumption during FY23.

“During FY 2022-23, renewable energy consumption across the Company’s operations saw an increase of 115 per cent year-on-year. The Dahej and Hazira manufacturing units generated 6.1 million GJ of renewable energy, accounting for over 90 per cent of the total green energy produced in the fiscal year by the Company,” mentioned the annual report.

Over and above that Reliance achieved a net 2.53 million GJ energy savings during FY23 through conservation efforts.

The Company is leveraging the expertise and experience of its New Energy Council (NEC), a group of leading global technocrats and thought leaders, to accelerate its transition to clean energy, mentioned the annual report.

Reliance considers enhancing the energy efficiency of its operations as an important step to achieve its Net Carbon Zero target.

In line with this, the Company emphasises implementing best-in-class technologies and maintenance practices to optimise energy consumption at applicable sites.

During FY23, the energy efficiency improvement initiatives resulted in energy savings of 2.5 million GJ for RIL, as against 2.11 million GJ in FY22.

Dedicated Energy Teams pursue relentless monitoring of energy performance at all RIL sites and at the group level.

Meanwhile, Reliance India Limited’s exports for the year was Rs 3,40,048 crore (US$ 41.4 billion),  a strong jump of 33.4 per cent from FY22 exports of Rs 2,54,970 crore (US$ 33.6 billion).

The increase in exports were led by higher price realisations despite lower downstream product volumes, mentioned the annual report.

India’s merchandise exports crossed $447 billion during FY23. Reliance represented 9.2 per cent of India’s total merchandise exports.

Reliance Industries is one of India’s largest contributors to the national exchequer. Reliance’s consolidated contribution to the national exchequer crossed Rs 5 lakh crore in the three years from FY21 to FY23.

Reliance’s contribution to national exchequer stood at Rs 177,173 crore in FY23, marginally down from Rs 188,012 crore of FY22.

The company continues to be the largest taxpayer in India, contributing Rs 1,77,173 crore to the national exchequer by way of various direct and indirect taxes, mentioned the annual report.

This was over 5 per cent of the Union government’s budgeted expenditure for last three years

Reliance Industries Limited issued its Annual Report for FY23 on Saturday.

The company will be holding its Annual General Meeting on Monday, August 28, 2023.

Among other things, the RIL Annual Report mentioned about the progress made by all its business verticals viz. Retail, Digital Services, O2C and E&P, and spoke about RIL’s intentions in the Green Energy field.

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Reliance jumps 16 places in Fortune’s Global 500

Reliance Industries improved its rank by 16 places to rank number 88 rank from its previous year’s rank of 104….reports Asian Lite News

Reliance Industries maintained its highest ranking among Indian corporates in the latest Global 500 list published by Fortune for year 2023.

Reliance Industries improved its rank by 16 places to rank number 88 rank from its previous year’s rank of 104.

The company has gained a whopping 67 places in last two years from 155 of 2021. Thus, the company has gained 83 places in the Fortune Global 500 rankings in just two years.

The ranking of 88 is the best ever achieved by Reliance on the Fortune Global 500 ranking list.

India had eight companies in the Fortune’s Global 500 list this year – five of them from the public sector – IOCL, LIC, ONGC, BPCL and SBI – and just three from the private sector.

It is now 20th year of RIL being a part of the Fortune Global 500 list – much longer than any other private sector company in India.

Fortune Global 500 list ranks Companies by total revenues for their respective fiscal years ended on or before March 31, 2023

Reliance Industries closed FY23 with record high consolidated revenues of Rs 976,524 crore, up 23.2 per cent, and EBITDA of Rs 154,691 crore, up 23.1 per cent Y-o-Y, with each of the O2C, Retail and Digital Services businesses posting all time high revenues.

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FDCI partners with Reliance brands for fashion extravaganza

Sunil Sethi, Chairman, Fashion Design Council of India said, “We are thrilled to associate with Reliance Brands for the Hyundai India Couture Week…reports Asian Lite News

The Hyundai India Couture Week, is scheduled to be held in the National capital from July 25 to August 2, 2023, at the Taj Palace Hotel.

For the event The Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) associates with Reliance Brands, bringing additional heft to the event which has been India’s premier showcase for bridal and couture designers for the past 16 years. An FDCI initiative, the fashion extravaganza has been “the” platform for showcasing the growing influence of many designers promoted businesses in India and has also brought Indian craftsmanship as the centerstage of homegrown luxury. Reliance Brands (RBL) with its experience and expertise in launching, nurturing, and partnering with International and Indian luxury brands will help accelerate and widen this proposition.

Sunil Sethi, Chairman, Fashion Design Council of India said, “We are thrilled to associate with Reliance Brands for the Hyundai India Couture Week. Our relationship grows from strength to strength, and we look forward to the value that this partnership will bring towards the growth of the property in the years to come as we strive to make it a showcase at par with anywhere in the world.”

Jaspreet Chandok, Group Vice President, Reliance Brands, said, “This partnership re-affirms our commitment towards the growth of the designer fashion industry in India as we look to create global benchmarks in terms of showcase, appeal and visibility. The Hyundai India Couture Week is a unique property, and we are glad to take our already deep partnership with FDCI to the next level.”

Presenting 17 artistic showcases in its 16th edition, India’s renowned couturiers will unveil their exclusive collections, celebrating the exuberance of craftsmanship through mesmerizing visual narratives. Participating designers include Anamika Khanna, Ritu Kumar, Tarun Tahiliani, JJ Valaya, Rahul Mishra, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Suneet Varma, Falguni Shane Peacock, Dolly J, Gaurav Gupta, Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna, Varun Bahl, Shantnu Nikhil, Kunal Rawal, Rimzim Dadu, Rose Room and Samant Chauhan.

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Reliance fails to get Walgreens Boots Alliance to India

The popular pharmacy chain, is planning to close 300 stores across the UK within the next year, resulting in a reduction of its store portfolio from approximately 2,200 to 1,900, reported the Sun…reports Asian Lite News

Reliance Industries, owned by Mukesh Ambani, has encountered a setback in its attempt to acquire UK-based chemist and drugstore chain Boots, as Walgreens Boots Alliance, the American retail major, has decided to withdraw from the sale talks, reported the Hindu Businessline.

Walgreens, which had been seeking a buyer for Boots, stated that none of the received bids adequately reflected the potential value of the drugstore chain.

Previous reports on June 9 revealed that Apollo Global Management and Reliance Industries had submitted a binding bid of approximately US$7.3 billion for the acquisition of Boots. Walgreens had put the business up for sale in December, with a valuation expectation of around US$8.9 billion.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Walgreens explained, “Due to the severe impact of market instability on financing availability, no third party has been able to make an offer that adequately reflects the high potential value of Boots and No7 Beauty Company. Consequently, WBA has decided that it is in the best interests of shareholders to focus on further growth and profitability of the two businesses.”

Walgreens also expressed that it had engaged in productive discussions with various parties and received significant interest from prospective buyers. However, unforeseen and drastic changes in the global financial markets have occurred since the initiation of the sale process, leading to this outcome.

The popular pharmacy chain, is planning to close 300 stores across the UK within the next year, resulting in a reduction of its store portfolio from approximately 2,200 to 1,900, reported the Sun.

The specific locations of the closures have not been confirmed by Boots, but it is believed that the affected shops will be those in close proximity to another site.

In its quarterly results, Boots stated that it will be consolidating a number of stores situated near each other over the next year.

This strategic move will allow Boots to allocate its team members more efficiently and focus investment on individual stores, aiming to consistently deliver an excellent and modernised service.

Boots, which employs over 52,000 team members, has assured that these store closures will not result in any redundancies.

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Jio’s new Rs 999 phone upsets rivals

India still has an estimated 250 million mobile subscribers trapped in the 2G era with feature phones…reports Asian Lite News

Reliance Jio’s Rs 999 costing 4G phone launch will help the telecom major grab market share among new feature phone sales, including expanding its subscriber base in the 2G segment, said Citi Research in a report.

“After Jio’s renewed attempts in Mar’23 at making inroads in the high-end postpaid and prepaid 4G and 5G segments by introducing new tariff plans, it has now embarked upon a plan to target India’s 250m low-end 2G market,” the report said. Jio on Monday launched a 4G-enabled phone ‘Jio Bharat’ at only Rs 999 per unit, the lowest entry price for an internet-enabled mobile phone.

A recharge of Rs 123 per month will provide users with unlimited voice calls and 14 GB data, compared to other operators’ Rs 179 plan for voice calls and only 2 GB data.

India still has an estimated 250 million mobile subscribers trapped in the 2G era with feature phones.

Jio Bharat is being launched with the objective of empowering every Indian with the power of digital services, especially those who cannot afford a smartphone, Jio said in a release.

Beta trial for the first 1 million Jio Bharat phones will begin on July 7, 2023. The phone comes with inbuilt apps such as JioSaavn and Jio Cinema.

It also offers UPI through Jio Pay.

“Jio’s increased focus on grabbing new subscribers could also be perceived as further reducing the likelihood of any near-term tariff hike,” the Citi report said.

According to Citi, the new phone’s specifications (like screen size, apps, etc.) are inferior to the JioPhone that was launched in 2017. However, the key attractiveness is likely to be the monthly plan of Rs 123 that offers unlimited voice.

“However, given the phone’s Rs 999 upfront price tag, it may initially appeal only to those looking to buy a new feature phone and may not immediately disrupt Bharti and Voda Idea’s 2G base. Unlike Bharti’s clear premiumisation strategy, Jio also remains focused on further expanding its subscriber base.”

“Additionally, this development could arguably signal reduced probability of a tariff hike in the near term,” the Citi report added. (ANI)

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