Reliance Industries Chairman and MD Mukesh Ambani on Thursday said that the company's performance in FY21 exceeded expectations despite the ongoing pandemic. Addressing the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the oil-to-telecom giant, Ambani also commended the company and its employees for the humanitarian efforts during the pandemic.

"I feel both proud and humbled to share with you that throughout the COVID crisis, our Reliance Family has risen to the occasion with a sense of purpose and national duty," Ambani said.

"Our entire organisation has become energised with the spirit of service. Every single employee has participated directly or indirectly in the fight against Covid and became a Goodwill Ambassador of Reliance," he added.

Reliance Industries (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani
Reliance Industries (RIL) Chairman Mukesh AmbaniIANS

He noted that the company's efforts in the past one year "would have made our Founding Chairman, Dhirubhai Ambani, proud."

Further addressing the shareholders, Reliance Foundation Chairperson Nita Ambani outlined the steps taken by the foundation amid the pandemic. She said that Reliance now produces 11 per cent of India's overall medical grade oxygen. Her foundation launched five missions amid COVID pandemic, including India Mission Oxygen, Mission COVID Infra, Mission Anna Seva, Mission Employee Care, and Mission Vaccine Suraksha.

JioPhone Next, 5G and more

At the event, Ambani launched its new phone, JioPhone Next, which is an ultra-affordable smartphone developed in partnership with Google. The phone will be available in the market from September 10. While there were rumours that a 5G phone would also be announced, instead Ambani laid out the roadmap for 5G rollout.

JioPhone Next
JioPhone NextRIL

Reliance Jio and Google Cloud have entered into a new 5G partnership that will help over a billion Indians connect to faster internet and lead a digital transformation for businesses. Ambani also noted that Reliance Jio, together with Facebook, is running a trial with a set of integrations between WhatsApp and JioMart. Similarly, Reliance Jio has operationalized an initial 10 MW capacity of JIO-AZURE Cloud Datacentres in Jamnagar and Nagpur with Microsoft.

"Jio is uniquely positioned to quickly and seamlessly upgrade to 5G. To develop 5G ecosystem, we are working with global partners to develop a range of 5G devices. Jio is not just working to make India 2G-mukt, but also 5G-yukt," Ambani said.

Reliance Retail

Ambani noted that Reliance Retail added 1,500 new stores despite the pandemic slowdown, which is reportedly the largest retail expansion by any retailer in the period. With this, there are a total of 12,711 Reliance Retail stores across the country.

Backlash over Reliance Jio's decision to charge voice calls

"Our apparel business sold nearly five lakh units per day and over 18 crore units during the year. This is equivalent to dressing the entire population of UK, Germany and Spain once. Reliance Retail sold 4.5 crore units of electronics last year which translates to over 120,000 units per day. We sold over a billion units of groceries or about 30 lakh units per day," Ambani said, adding that JioMart registered 6.5 lakh peak orders in a single day.

Currently emptying over 2 lakh employees, Ambani targets over 10 lakh people to be working for Reliance Retail within the next three years.

Green initiatives get much-needed boost

Ambani has revealed plans to invest Rs 75,000 crore in green energy initiatives over the course of next three years, which gives a much-needed boost to the niche industry. Reliance is working on the development of Dhirubhsi Green Energy Giga Complex on 5,000 acres in Jamnagar, which will be among the largest integrated renewable energy manufacturing facilities globally.

Reliance industries
Reliance industries

"We plan to build four Giga factories to manufacture and integrate all critical components of New Energy ecosystem solar photovoltaic module factory, energy storage battery factory, electrolyser factory, fuel cell factory," Ambani said.

Of the total investment, Rs 60,000 crore will be to create a fully integrated, end-to-end renewable energy ecosystem and an additional Rs 15,000 crore will be invested in value chain, partnerships and future technologies, including upstream and downstream industries.

Saudi Aramco joins RIL board

In a major development in the much anticipated Reliance Industries, Saudi Aramco partnership, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the Chairman of Saudi Aramco will join the RIL board as an Independent Director, Ambani said , adding that he expects RIL's partnership with Saudi Aramco will be to be formalised in an "expeditious manner during this year", after obtaining required regulatory clearances.

saudi aramco, aramco ipo, aramco public issue
Reuters file

He said that Rumayyan's joining the board is also the beginning of internationalisation of Reliance and more announcements on international plans of the company would come in times to come.

Further, RIL is set to disrupt the new energy business amid climate concerns.

"We have established the Reliance New Energy Council," the CMD said.