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Friday, July 14, 2006

Ambani Wars-Part - II


India celebrates Mittal’s success, while the brothers squabble
Lakshmi Mittal could be sure of one thing: He doesn’t have two ambitious sons to fight over his legacy and inheritance in the future the way the two inheritors of Dhirubhai Ambani are doing. After a lull when it looked as if both Mukesh and Anil Ambani are busy charting their own corporate destinies, the bitterness between the two has come out yet again in the open. This time, it is Anil crying foul over the ‘alleged’ attempts by elder brother Mukesh to poach on his ‘territory’.

Most analysts and peers were awed when Reliance Industries (controlled by Mukesh) announced the mega Rs.400 billion SEZ in Haryana modeled on the lines of Chinese special zones. But brother Anil was not amused. His company Reliance Energy shot off a letter to the Haryana government and Reliance accusing the latter of violating he terms under which the two brothers had parted in June 2005. The SEZ being planned by Mukesh has a provision for a 2,000 MW captive power plant and even an international airport. According to the Anil camp, both the power sector and airports were to be the exclusive hunting grounds for Anil and Mukesh had sort of pledged not to venture into these two sectors.

While the Mukesh camp has refrained from replying or even talking to the media about the latest controversy, this goes on to show how the once inseparable brothers
Perceive each otheras rivals. In a cover feature (issue dated June 2005), B&E had predicted that both the brothers will start a race to prove to the world that one of them is the true inheritor of the Dhirubhai Ambani legacy. Throughout the last year, that is precisely what both the brothers have been doing. Who eventually will be the true inheritor of the Dhirubhai Ambani legacy? Both the brothers have demolished some myths about the group and themselves along the way. For instance, it was widely believed that Anil Ambani was the finance whiz kid, while Mukesh was the king of project implementation. Yet, the manner in which Mukesh tied up funds for the $6 billion petroleum refinery like a magician was an eye opener for those who questioned his skills in finance management.

Similarly, there were analysts who had questioned the wisdom of Anil Ambani in getting into active politics through the Samajwadi Party, which is daggers drawn with the ruling Congress led alliance. Yet, Anil displayed amazing sense of timing by using the office for profit controversy to quit the Parliament. The presence of Manmohan Singh beside him during the inauguration of the new Mumbai metro project was further proof of Anil’s ‘political’ skills.

The Ambani legacy continues to live on; but in which son, is a question that will remain unanswered for a few more years. What, though, is a surety, is that the legacy ‘will’ live on, and humongously so!

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Source :- IIPM Editorial, 2006, Editor - Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri

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