I’ve no bias… but feel sad for Anil Ambani…. I’m with him on this one….. Supreme Court gave a split verdict today in the RIL v/s RNRL Gas Pricing embroglio in favour of RIL
So now 2.34 is out and 4.20 is in !… One perspective is that RIL and the Government have done a 4.20 on this one!
In 2005 when the Reliance Group was split between the Ambani Brothers a MOU was signed between the brothers and blessed by their Mother too… It prescribed that RNRL would be supplied 28 million mmbtu gas daily by RIL at a price of US $ 2.34/mmbtu….. Anil agreed to the split valuations which included this arrangement too…. He went ahead and got his company RNRL to enter into an agreement with his ambitious baby, Reliance Power, to in turn supply this Gas from RIL for the upcoming 7.4 GW Dadri Power Plant which is slated to be the biggest Gas based Power Plant in Asia
RNRL went to court as RIL refused to honour this MOU citing that Gas was the National Property and they were merely Contractors and the Government owned the Gas and reserved the right to allocate this Gas and also approve the Pricing for this…. The New Pricing Benchmark became US $ 4.20/mmbtu
High Court ruled in favour of RNRL and said that the MOU should be honoured…. RIL went to the Apex Court, the Supreme Court….. Today the three judge bench gave a 2-1 Verdict in favour of RIL and the Government, overruling the High Court Order…. their view is that
This Gas is a National Resource and the Government is the Owner
The Production Sharing Contract (PSC) between RIL and the Government supersedes all other agreements, including the MOU between the brothers
The MOU itself is not a legally binding document, but can be used for inspiration in future negotiations for gas supply between RIL and RNRL… These negotiations must be concluded inside six weeks and the Company law Board should be approached to approve the same
Feel Sad that RNRL and Anil lost out here…. simply because I feel strongly as below
This issue must be viewed with the mindset of ‘Substance over Form’… just like auditors are trained to do… also it should be viewed,like the Painter Hussain controversy, with a mindset of looking at the ‘intention’ behind creating this controversy
The MOU was created in 2005 with this Price of US $ 2.34/mmbtu which was the benchmark then as it was a NTPC tender price….. Why was no noise created then ! ?…. Even if the MOU was secret, the price was not!…. Clearly as the Price of Gas began rising, RIL attempted to wriggle out of this committment to supply gas to RNRL at US $ 2.34/mmtu
It was only in October 2007 that the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGOM) had arrived at a Formula for Gas Pricing
Mukesh Ambani could easily have honoured this MOU committment… it was blessed by the Mother… and in Mother India, the word of Mother is that of God !.… apparently the boiling intensity of emotions with his brother, Anil Ambani, prompted him to decide not to supply the gas at all….. So RIL chose to default citing that Government was the authority on allocation and pricing of Gas…. clearly government machinery was being misused and the government merely became a front… moot question arises… was the Government playing favourites or truly had the National Interest in mind !?.… the answer will stare at you in the face when you search history and discover that a top RIL executive was arrested because he was caught with confidential government documents…. apparently he was drafting/suggesting/amending a Union Cabinet Meeting Agenda for a Meeting to be held!…. also the current Petroleum Minister and the late Dhirubhai Ambani were great friends from their youth…. read the banned ‘Prince of Polyester’ by Hamish Mcdonald to gauge how close!…. Anil Ambani has already emotionally made these accusations and had rightly questioned as to why the Government has not withdrawn the PSC with RIL if they felt that it has been violated by the MOU !
So what will happen now….. RNRL has already lost significant value on the Stock Exchanges today…dropping from Rs 70 levels towrds Rs 50…. RIL has regained lost ground and is up marginally at Rs 1040 levels
If Anil Ambani had agreed to the Reliance Group Split in 2005 based on the Valuations on supply of 28 million mmbtu/day at a Gas Pricing of US $ 2.34/mmbtu, he is entitled to now feel aggrreived like all his shareholders too….. Clearly he should seek adequate compensation from RIL on behalf of all his shareholders…. one way is that the brothers agree to sell RNRL to RIL at price levels near Rs 100…. because the split may have then been done at a more favourable and liberal ratio for ADAG Companies… in simple words, shareholders of RIL would have received more shares in ADAG Companies in the split than they actually did if this Gas Supply and Pricing was not to be considered