Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Economist on Reliance Industries

The Economist had Mukesh Ambani on its cover in a recent issue. It carried an edit as well as a feature on the Reliance group with the edit titled, "An unloved billionaire".

The magazine is generous is handing out bouquets to the group. Reliance invests massively in India unlike other groups which have said they find the Indian environment uncongenial. It accounts for 15% of India's exports. It ventures into areas where other fear to tread and is hugely profitable.

However, the Economist thinks the group needs a major overhaul of governance. For two reasons. One, India is now exposed to MNCs with much better governance standards. Two, the country is "turning against its tycoons." The magazine has a number of suggestions:
There is plenty that Mr Ambani could do to reform his firm. He could adopt global accounting rules, reveal and simplify its ownership and appoint as directors global heavyweights with reputations to lose who can subject Reliance to scrutiny. The company’s shares—like those of many Asian firms—could be listed in America, which has the world’s toughest disclosure regime. To avoid conflicts of interest Mr Ambani could merge his private businesses into Reliance, on terms that are fair to minority shareholders. He could publish details of Reliance executives’ meetings with politicians and officials. He could sell its media assets. He would lose something in personal and political power but gain more through the opportunity to build a more global and more admired business.
One suggestion took my breath away, namely, that the company "could disclose its executives' meeting with politicians and officials." Is there any large company anywhere in the world that does this? If so, the Economist should publish a list of such companies. Also, how many other industrial groups in India have chosen to appoint global heavyweights on their boards who subject these groups to scrutiny?

I am all for improved corporate governance. However, I would like the Economist to enlighten me on which of the major companies in the world, it thinks, are models of governance.


Madhur Capital Services:: said...

hahaha... LMAO...

agree with your views. have seen enough of so called global corp. stumbling from one disaster to another. Would prefer to side with reliance any day any time!

Anonymous said...

Economists sounds grotesque, utopian, hackneyed - Cliché. Difficult to agree.