The game of upmanship among the Ambani brothers could have died or atleast subsided with the two sides smoking peace pipe publicly few months ago, but the quest for leading a company with the most number of shareholders continues. Reliance Industries that was for long the firm with most number of shareholders lost the position few years ago to Reliance Natural Resources Limited (RNRL) and thereafter was also trumped by Reliance Power.

Over the last few quarters the country’s most valued firm has once again emerged as the company with most number of shareholders as the two other firms of the Reliance ADAG firms floundered in the absence of any significant positive triggers in the stocks. Although a notional indicator, having a higher number of shareholders is an indication of public faith in a listed company.

The pecking order could well change again soon with the proposed merger of RNRL with group firm Reliance Power. Under the proposed merger swap ratio based on recommendation of KPMG, RNRL shareholders will get 1 Reliance Power share for 4 RNRL shares.

As of September 30, Reliance Industries had in total 3.6 million shareholders (including promoters and non promoters) compared with 3.3 million of Reliance Power and 2.5 million of RNRL. This does not automatically mean Reliance Power will have around 6 million shareholders as a result of the merger because many of the shareholders could be common to both the firms.

The record date for deciding which shareholders of RNRL will get shares of Reliance Power has been fixed as November 11. Anil Ambani-led Reliance Power is implementing power projects with aggregate capacity of over 37,000 MW and the group is looking to build synergies for RNRL shareholders.

RNRL shareholders will get an exposure in a company that has apparently settled a pending and controversial issue of gas supply with Reliance Industries for its 8,000 MW worth of gas based power capacity. Reliance Power as such will benefit from RNRL’s equity interest in few coal bed methane blocks besides coal supply logistics and shipping business. Reliance Power will also benefit from net worth of Rs 1,900 crore of RNRL that will enhance its own net worth to over Rs 16,000 crore.

The two companies together command a market capitalisation of around Rs 44,000 crore or approximately $10 billion. It is to be seen whether as a merged entity they manage to hold on to this market cap.

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