Anil Ambani, brother of Asia’s richest man has told the court in London that his net worth is zero. “My net worth is zero after taking into account my liabilities. In summary, I do not hold any meaningful assets which can be liquidated for the purposes of these proceedings,” said Anil Ambani, as per a filing in London court.
Anil Ambani has to pay millions of dollars to Chinese banks, but he pleaded in the court about his poverty and his inability to pay back the loans. The Chinese state-owned banks provided 925 million dollars loan to Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications, which filed for bankruptcy last year. Ambani was ordered to put 100 million dollars into court’s account within 6 weeks and therefore the industrialist had to plead to the court about his poverty, as he has got no money to payback.
Once a constant face on the list of world’s most wealthy individuals, Anil Ambani is now sitting on a heap underperforming companies reeling under debt. Over the past decade, the total worth of Reliance Group of Companies (top 5) has eroded dramatically from Rs 2,36,354 crore in 2008 to just Rs 24,922 crores in February 2019. Just a few years after the death of Dhirubhai Ambani, the multibillion-dollar business empire was split between the Ambani brothers after a long and emotional family rift. While the elder brother, Mukesh Ambani was given the group’s petrochemical business, the younger sibling Anil, managed to get the new-age telecom business, along with the financial services and energy business.
Reliance Communications (RCom), Anil’s mobile telephony venture, is all but defunct: the company owes its lenders Rs. 48,000 crores and RCom has just been reduced to fixed-line communications, data centre services and enterprise solutions with revenues of Rs 4,684 crore in fiscal 2018, a massive drop from the Rs 19,000 crore bagged in 2008. Market capitalization has plunged from a peak valuation of Rs 1,65,917 crore in January 2008 to just over 1 per cent of that value at Rs 1,687 crore on February 18, 2019.
The fall of Anil Ambani’s’ telecom business was the main burden that dragged down the entire business group itself. RCom which looked promising in its initial years flaunted a 20 per cent market share, but the group was losing out to the competing GSM technology while the group operated on CDMA. However, Anil Ambani acted swiftly and shifted his bets to GSM and laid out services within 12 months. With an aggressive pricing strategy and investment of around 8,500 crores to buy 3G spectrum in 11 circles, RCom pushed to become the second-largest Telecommunications Company in India with a massive 125 million customer base by December 2010, which was a fourfold jump for the telecom just five years after the family settlement.
While Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) group stood at a market cap of around Rs. 7, 70,592 Crore, younger brother Group’s market cap is near zero.
The Managerial style of both brothers is very different. The leadership style of Mukesh Ambani epitomizes the traditional Indian style running a Hindu undivided family business. He involves himself in every large-scale project and is known for his ability to visualize, conceive and implement mega projects down to the last screw and nail.
Anil, on the other hand, is more like a western businessman. He is flashy, flamboyant, urbane, high-profile and accessible, he is dear to media as he regularly throws lavish parties for them. While his brother is known for keeping a safe distance from politicians at least in public eye, Anil is close to politicians like Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh; he also got a seat in Rajya Sabha from which he later resigned.
He has pioneered many innovations in the Indian capital markets and has had unparalleled success in raising capital from global markets for Reliance. He knows the world’s biggest international financiers by their first names and is the telegenic face of the company. He is known for trusting his managers and going with their opinions rather than involving himself in any project in great detail.
The businesses of Anil Ambani have collapsed and most of the companies in his group have filed for bankruptcy. Whatever be the future of the business, Anil Ambani will go down as a person who could not handle family fortunes.