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November 22, 2021

Reliance to reconsider $15bn stake sale deal with Saudi Aramco

The decision over the 20% stake sale in oil to chemicals business comes due to the evolving nature of the firm’s business portfolio.

By Archana Rani

India-based Reliance Industries (RIL) has decided to re-evaluate its $15bn stake sale in its oil-to-chemicals (O2C) business to Saudi Aramco.

The sale of the 20% interest in the oil-to-chemicals unit, which comprises two oil refineries in Jamnagar, Gujarat, as well as petrochemical assets, was first announced in 2019.

The deal, however, was delayed due to a crash in oil prices and demand following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Reliance unveiled plans earlier this year to invest $8.08bn (Rs600bn) to build four ‘gigafactories’  in Jamnagar to enable the production of solar cells and modules, energy storage batteries, green hydrogen, and fuel cells.

The four gigafactories will be part of the Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex, which will be one of the world’s largest integrated renewable energy manufacturing facilities.

Reliance said that Jamnagar will account for a major part of the firm’s oil-to-chemicals assets while supporting the net-zero commitment.

In a press statement, Reliance said: “Due to evolving nature of Reliance’s business portfolio, Reliance and Saudi Aramco have mutually determined that it would be beneficial for both parties to re-evaluate the proposed investment in O2C business in light of the changed context.

“The deep engagement over the last two years has given both Reliance and Saudi Aramco a greater understanding of each other, providing a platform for broader areas of cooperation.”

Reliance now plans to withdraw its application for the segregation of the O2C business, filed with the National Company Law Tribunal.

Earlier this year, the Financial Times reported that Saudi Aramco revived negotiations over the 20% stake acquisition in Reliance’s O2C business through a mix of cash-and-share deals.

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