What happens to companies owned by Anil Ambani

Indian brother conflict: "The whole country is the loser"

The guerrilla war between Mukesh and Anil Ambani, the two richest men in the country, hits India at a sore point: the power supply. A power plant construction has therefore been blocked for four years.

Around fifty kilometers east of New Delhi, along a dirty road through corn and barley fields, lies an empty piece of land on which a power station for generating electricity should have been built for a long time. The task of this power plant was to protect the Indian city of New Delhi from large-scale power outages. Instead, freshly planted saplings grow there, guarded by two rusting tin huts.

The construction of the plant has already been delayed by four years. He is a victim of a feud between two
Brothers who are the richest men in India of all things: Mukesh and Anil Ambani, reports the financial news agency "Bloomberg". The focal point of the dispute: Anil needs the gas from Mukesh's company to build the power plant.

"The loser of the feud is the whole country"

In 2005 the two brothers split up the "Reliance Group" after fighting for control of the company for three years after the death of their father. After the split, Mukesh took over the oil and gas division and the flagship Reliance Industries. Anil got the energy, telecommunications and finance divisions.

"The losers are not just the brothers, but the whole country," says Walter Rossini from Aletti Gestielle. Power outages are an enormous obstacle to India's economic development. In 2006, after power outages, riots even broke out in several Indian cities. At that time, electricity companies were attacked. At temperatures of 46 degrees, the numerous air conditioning systems could not meet the increased energy demand. Some of the people stayed in their cars with the air conditioning switched on. Some shops had to be closed one day a week.

"Monopoly gas producer"

At a shareholders' meeting on Wednesday, Anil attacked his brother's company directly. Reliance Industries Ltd. is a "monopoly gas producer" who broke his word out of greed. In the specific case, Anil accuses his brother of ignoring an agreement. This regulates the prices, scope and duration of gas ownership. This agreement is a prerequisite for starting electricity generation. "Unfortunately, Reliance Industries is trying everything to get out of legal and contractual obligations," says Anil.

The brothers' different styles were once considered complementary. While Mukesh took on the role of the traditional tycoon, Anil turned out to be a financial genius. Nigel Nicholson, co-author of the book "Family Wars: Classic Conflicts in Family Business", speaks of two "huge egos": "Mukesh is the traditionalist who wants to create a huge industrial empire. Anil is highly political and just wants his thing make, "says Nicholson, characterizing the contradicting pair of brothers.

In June, Anil won a lawsuit in Bombay requiring Reliance Industries to adhere to the 2005 family agreement. Since then, the value of the Reliance share has fallen, that of the anil company Reliance Natural has risen by around a quarter. In September the case will go to the Indian Supreme Court, and the verdict can no longer be appealed.

"Gas doesn't belong to the brothers"

In the meantime, Murli Deora, the Indian oil minister, has interfered in the fraternal dispute. Gas is a "national property", he emphasizes: "It does not belong to the brothers, it belongs to the people of India".

And the feud is already affecting the brothers' affairs. In 2008, Anil's wireless communications company Reliance Communications had to stop a proposed merger with the South African MTN Group after his brother Mukesh threatened to block the deal. The beneficiary in this case was the main competitor in the Indian mobile communications market: Sunil Mittal. The billionaire resumed broken calls with MTN.

(phu)