Email of the day (1)
Comment of the Day

March 25 2010

Commentary by David Fuller

Email of the day (1)

On Reliance Industries and conspicuous consumption
"I would not worry too much about Reliance. Though it is a family business, it is professionally run. And this expenditure is totally out of character for Mukesh who hates being in the limelight and is an introvert. And to be fair to Mukesh, he probably needs that residential complex to manage his interactions with people.

"India, most would agree, is a safe investment-incidentally I believe the term, 'short term investment', is an oxymoron-but the recent Sensex movement, quadrupling in 2 years-has detracted from the fact, that returns ALWAYS will be commensurate with that safety. There is a price to be paid for safety. I know a lot of starry eyed Indian newbie investors, who would not have factored, that simple fact of investing-nay, of life- into their expectations.

"Though people say Reliance is close to Government, I suspect it is the other way around. Reliance's under performance is not a governance issue. But analysts have difficulty in figuring out the various businesses it is in. I know it is also in biotechnology and retailing. These are all candidates for spin offs and so there is a lot of hidden value in Reliance. Opacity-in balance sheet-may be opportunity.

"Governance is usually reflected in the valuation of the company, as compared to other companies, in the same sector-but there is no other Indian company to compare Reliance with. Reliance's P.E. is in line ,you can confirm it, with it's other global peers.

"Satyam, ever since it's inception, had traded at a considerable discount (in PE), of as much as 30-40%, as compared to Infosys-so the market, in it's wisdom, had always smelled a rat - what it got, was a bandicoot."

David Fuller's view Thanks for your perspective, and as some of us are more than just interested bystanders, I hope you are right.

However if Mr Saleem is right in this description:

At 500 feet tall, Mr. Saleem gushes, the Ambanis' new family home will be a 30-story Mumbai skyscraper (first seven floors for parking and auto maintenance, the eighth for theater, health club and swimming pool, two floors for Ambani family guests, followed by four floors for the Ambani family, with superb views of the Arabian Sea. To top it all, not one, but three helipads. The new Ambani home will be staffed by 600 employees.

Mukesh Ambani, with his controlling family shareholding inherited from his father, sees himself as a contemporary rajah, rather than India's Warren Buffett. No stock market investor begrudges a successful entrepreneur's earned wealth. However Reliance's shareholders would be better served by an increase in the meagre dividend yield of 0.60%.

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