Reliance aims high with a $12bn offer

AINDIAN-BASED Reliance Industries has made an initial offer for bankrupt chemical company LyondellBasell.<br /><br />Sources say the cash offer for a controlling interest in the company would be for around $12bn (&pound;7.26 bn), making it one of the largest foreign acquisition by an Indian company to date.<br /><br />LyondellBasell spokesperson David Harpole said Reliance&rsquo;s offer represented&nbsp; &ldquo;an alternative to the previous plan of reorganisation filed by the company to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy&rdquo;.<br /><br />He added: &ldquo;Our focus is on presenting a plan that maximises value for creditors and enhances the financial stability of the company&rsquo;&rsquo;.<br /><br />The Luxembourg-based company filed for bankruptcy in January, after failing to meet its debt obligations. <br /><br />Reliance spokesperson Manoj Warrier declined to comment on the terms of the offer.<br /><br />Headed by the world&rsquo;s richest Indian, Mukesh Ambani, Reliance is India&rsquo;s largest private company with a turnover of $28.85bn as of 31 March 2009. <br /><br />Ambani told shareholders earlier this week that the company is looking to expand to earn global reach for its energy platform &ndash; petrochemicals, refining and oil and gas exploration. It is also looking to invest in retailing and alternative energy.<br /><br />Acquiring LyondellBasell would create the world&rsquo;s largest petrochemical company.<br /><br />In September, Reliance raised about $660m in a share sale that analysts said was likely to help the firm make acquisitions. It has $4bn in cash and $8bn in treasury stock that can be sold .<br /><br />Previous foreign acquisitions by Indian companies include Tata Steel&rsquo;s acquisition of Corus Group for $12 bn in 2007, at a price of 608p per ordinary share in cash. This made it the world&rsquo;s fifth largest steel producer with 84,000 employees across four continents. Also that year, India&rsquo;s Hindalco Industries aquired Atlanta-based aluminum giant Novelis for $6.4bn. In 2006, a consortium led by India&rsquo;s Videocon took over South Korea&rsquo;s Daewoo Electronics Corp for $731m.<br /><strong><br />M&65279;UKESH AMBANI<br />CHAIRMAN, MANAGING DIRECTOR RELIANCE INDUSTRIES<br /></strong>He&rsquo;s known as the face of emerging India and true to form yesterday launched the country&rsquo;s largest foreign company acquisition deal. With a net worth of $32bn (&pound;19.3bn), Mukesh Ambani is the world&rsquo;s richest Indian. He is chairman, managing director and the largest stakeholder of Reliance Industries, India&rsquo;s largest private sector company. <br /><br />Ambani took over the helm at Reliance from his father in 1981, expanding the industrial conglomerate into polyester fibres and petrochemicals and increasing petrochemical manufacturing capabilities from under a million tonnes to twenty million tonnes per year. He shows no sign of slowing down, telling shareholders recently his company is looking to expand globally across its energy platform.<br /><br />A traditional Hindu and a proud Indian, Ambani says &ldquo;as long as we place millions of Indians at the centre of our thought process, as long as we think of their welfare, their future, their opportunities for self realisation we are on the right track. Our purchasing power, our economic strength, our marketplace all depends on the prosperity of our people&rdquo;.<br /><br />He has many accolades to his name and was voted 2006 Business Leader of the Year in the Economic Times Awards which recognise business, corporate and economic success in India. Ambani is also ranked 42nd among the world's most respected business leaders.&nbsp; He lives in a $1bn&nbsp; house in Mumbai with his wife and three children and the latest addition to his portfolio is cricket , bidding $111.9m to win control of the Premier League Mumbai Indians team.