‘Love between brothers’: India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani helps sibling avoid jail

Mukesh Ambani is now Asia’s richest man, worth $54.3 billion, according to Bloomberg News. (AFP)
Updated 19 March 2019
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‘Love between brothers’: India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani helps sibling avoid jail

  • Ambani brothers Mukesh and Anil fell out spectacularly after their rags-to-riches father died in 2002 without a will
  • Anil would have been jailed if he failed to pay 5.5 billion rupees ($77 million) to Sweden’s Ericsson by Tuesday

MUMBAI: The epic feud between India’s Ambani brothers has taken a new twist with the older and now vastly richer brother paying a debt owned by his struggling sibling, helping him avoid jail.
Mukesh and Anil Ambani fell out spectacularly after their rags-to-riches father died in 2002 without a will, leaving them to fight for control of his Reliance Industries conglomerate.
With their mother acting as peacemaker, they eventually agreed to split Reliance, at the time India’s most valuable listed company, and to stay out of each other’s sectors.
Mukesh’s half has thrived while Anil’s has tanked. Mukesh, 61, is now Asia’s richest man, worth $54.3 billion, dwarfing Anil’s assets of some $300 million, according to Bloomberg News.
Mukesh and his family live in a 27-story luxury Mumbai skyscraper believed to have cost more than $1 billion to build and regularly referred to as the world’s most expensive home.
Anil’s Reliance Communications is believed to have debts of around $4 billion and started insolvency proceedings in February.
That same month his woes deepened when the Supreme Court ruled he would be jailed if he failed to pay 5.5 billion rupees ($77 million) to Sweden’s Ericsson by Tuesday.
Reliance Communications dropped a bombshell late Monday by saying that the debt had been settled — implying that none other than Anil’s big brother had paid the money, prompting a humbled thank you.
“My sincere and heartfelt thanks to my respected elder brother, Mukesh, and (his wife) Nita, for standing by me during these trying times, and demonstrating the importance of staying true to our strong family values by extending this timely support,” said Anil, 59.
“I and my family are grateful we have moved beyond the past, and are deeply grateful and touched with this gesture,” he added in a statement.
Mukesh’s decision may not have been driven entirely by a desire to bury the hatchet, however.
Monday’s short statement did not say whether the payment was a gift or a loan but some Indian media reported that it may have been compensation for a deal between the two that recently collapsed.
Anil had hoped to offload his company’s telecom tower and spectrum business to his brother’s Reliance Jio for $2.4 billion.
But the deal, which hit regulatory hurdles and opposition from creditors, was confirmed dead by both companies on Tuesday.
It is also not the first time that the brothers have appeared to make up.
In 2011, they came together to dedicate a memorial to their father, and their mother Kokilaben declared the enmity over, telling reporters: “There is love between the brothers.”
But five years later the elder sibling sparked a brutal price war in the Indian telecom sector, launching his ultra-cheap Reliance Jio mobile network in 2016 — bringing Anil’s Reliance Communications to its current predicament.


Moody’s upgrades Egypt’s rating to B2, expects more economic growth

Updated 18 April 2019
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Moody’s upgrades Egypt’s rating to B2, expects more economic growth

  • Moody’s believes Egypt’s large domestic funding base would support its resilience to refinancing shocks
  • The ratings agency expects energy price hikes as part of Egypt’s fuel subsidy reform

CAIRO: Rating agency Moody’s has upgraded Egypt’s sovereign rating, saying ongoing economic reforms will help improve its fiscal position and boost economic growth.
Moody’s upgraded the long-term foreign and local currency issuer ratings of Egypt to B2 from B3. The outlook was changed to stable from positive.
The decision was based on “Moody’s expectation that ongoing fiscal and economic reforms will support a gradual but steady improvement in Egypt’s fiscal metrics and raise real GDP growth,” the agency said in a statement late on Wednesday.
Moody’s also said it believed Egypt’s large domestic funding base would support its resilience to refinancing shocks despite the government’s very high borrowing needs and interest costs.
Moody’s said it expected a steady improvement of Egypt’s fiscal position, “albeit from very weak levels.”
Maintained primary budget surpluses combined with strong nominal GDP growth would help reduce the general government debt/GDP ratio to below 80 percent by the 2021 fiscal year from 92.6 percent in the 2018 fiscal year, it said.
Egypt’s fiscal year runs from July to June.
Moody’s also said it expected energy price hikes as part of Egypt’s fuel subsidy reform, which it believed would be completed in the 2019 fiscal year. This, along with the fiscal reforms implemented in the last few years, would allow the government to maintain the primary budget balance in surplus in the next few years, Moody’s said.
The upgraded rating was expected, but still good news for Egypt, said Allen Sandeep, head of research at Naeem Brokerage.
“It should help its case for new international bond issuances as we move forward,” he said.
Egypt is pushing ahead with tough economic reforms as part of a three-year $12 billion IMF loan deal signed in 2016.
The reforms, aimed at attracting investors who fled during the 2011 uprising, have included new taxes, deep cuts to energy subsidies and a currency devaluation. The reforms have helped the economy recover, but have also put the budgets of tens of millions of Egyptians under strain.