Reliance Industries (RIL) is likely to achieve its target of becoming a zero net debt company by the end of FY21 by repaying all its liabilities, according to a report by Edelweiss Securities.
The Mukesh Ambani-controlled conglomerate is in a comfortable position to pay its entire reported debt even though the Saudi Aramco deal is delayed.
This comes at a time when RIL is riding on Rs 1.3 lakh crore in aggregate fundraising in the last few weeks, the brokerage firm's report added.
The company has raised a total of 78,562 crore by selling minority stakes in its digital arm to Facebook as well as private equity firms such as General Atlantic, Vista Equity, Silver Lake, and KKR. RIL is also raising Rs 53,125 crore through a rights issue.
"We analysed RIL's balance sheet following the recent deal-making. Having raised, on aggregate, Rs 1.3 lakh crore in equity over the past month, we expect the company to repay its entire reported net debt of Rs 1.6 lakh crore in 2020-21, even if the Aramco deal is delayed," Edelweiss said in a research report on the company.
Adjusted net debt, however, at Rs 2.57 lakh crore, is higher and would take longer to repay.
"That said, we expect concerns about leverage to be gradually allayed as asset sales continue, and tapering capex generates positive free cash flow (FCF)," it said.
With telecom arm Jio's capital expenditure (capex) largely complete, RIL should generate FCF of more than Rs 20,000 crore in FY21 (same as FY20) despite weaker oil and gas earnings.
"We expect RIL to monetise 20 per cent of Jio; this, along with partial proceeds from the rights issue and sale of (49 per cent of) fuel retail (to BP for Rs 7,000 crore), not to mention FCF, would lead to cash proceeds of Rs 1.3 lakh crore, thereby putting the company on the path to zero net debt in FY21," the brokerage added.
However, adjusted net debt (creditor capex plus spectrum liability) is much higher at Rs 2.57 lakh crore.
"To repay dis, RIL will need to tap into its massive divestment pipeline of oil-to-chemical (O2C) assets (Rs 1 lakh crore) and fibre InvIT (Rs 1.2 lakh crore). Progress on this front would, therefore, continue to allay market concerns around leverage," it noted.
Even a 5 per cent stake sale of O2C assets to Saudi Aramco (versus talks of 20 per cent) could help fill the shortfall, it said.
The Aramco deal was to conclude by March 2020 but is now expected within the 2020 calendar year.
When RIL announced its rights issue of Rs 53,125 crore on April 30, it was perceived as part of the company's aim to become net debt-free by March 2021. But with shareholders needing to pay only 25 per cent of the rights issue price on the application, the proceeds will be Rs 13,281 crore in total and cannot be a major source of debt reduction plans.
The remaining portion of the rights issue price is to be paid next fiscal.
With major refining and telecom projects achieving completion, capex in FY20 slid to Rs 76,000 crore from a high of about Rs 1 lakh crore in FY19.
"We expect capex to decline further to Rs 46,000 crore in FY21, offsetting lower operating cash flow from oil and gas," it said.
(With inputs from PTI)
As a result, FCF is expected to remain steady at over Rs 20,000 crore in FY21. "Self-sufficiency in operations has the added advantage of freeing up asset sales for deleveraging," it said.