Reliance may invest Rs 30, 000 cr to set up retail business

Reliance may invest Rs 30, 000 cr to set up retail business
New Dellhi, June 21 (PTI) As part of an ambitious diversification programme, Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is planning to pump in up to Rs 30,000 crore over the next five years to set up a mega retail chain, covering about 100 cities across the country.

Even as his younger brother Anil Ambani announced personal investment of Rs 3,000 crore in his newly acquired Reliance Capital and Reliance Energy, Mukesh has quietly drawn up a blue print to establish a huge retail chain on the pattern of some big names in the US such as Wal-Mart.

RIL was unwilling to comment officially on the retail chain plans. The company spokesperson did not respond to queries on the subject, but sources in the know said that a team had been set up to handle the project.

As part of the plan, that may give the group a distinction of being the single largest retail chain in India, RIL has started approaching various state governments for necessary clearances and acquisition of land, sources said.

The retail business, which would have almost all the leading brands, would be a maga initiative with a direct consumer base, requiring a huge workforce.

Manoj Modi, a close associate of Mukesh, who was hiterto Director of Infocomm, is understood to have been given charge of the project. Modi, however, could not be contacted, while other top officials of RIL did not comment on the issue.

Sources said the retail business would start with 20 destination points in A-class cities in India and later would be expanded to 100 destinations. Each of the retail centre could be spread over up to 100 acres of land that would house entertainment facilities, small hospital complex, eateries and a big mall.

Sources indicated that work on the new business venutre, which started almost a year back, is now taking a definitive shape with the RIL approaching the authorities concerned.

Mukesh Ambani was qutoed last year as saying that "we are looking at retail in a big way." The gestation period of the project is estimated to be between three to five years, sources said, adding that it would be highly employment-oriented venture that could employ tens of thousands of people over a period of time.

Reliance has already got advisors and consultants working on the project, sources said.

Leading companies from across the world could find a place for their wares in the retail outlets through a collaborative arrangement, they said, but indicated that equity participation in the venture was unlikely.

Asked if the retail venture would be promoted under the brand name Reliance Home, they said it was pre-mature and a decision was yet to be taken on this.

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