Reliance, which manages the biggest refinery complex, gained 4.3% in Mumbai on Friday adding $8 billion to take its market value to $189 billion, while Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) erased about $1 billion. Reliance’s shares have jumped 43% this year compared with a 39% drop in Exxon’s shares as refiners across the globe struggled with a plunge in fuel demand. Aramco with a market capitalization of $1.76 trillion is the world’s biggest energy company.
While the energy business accounted for about 80% of Reliance’s revenue in the year ended March 31, Chairman Mukesh Ambani’s plan to expand the company’s digital and retail arms has helped him attract $20 billion into the Jio Platforms Ltd. unit. That in turn helped add $22.3 billion to Ambani’s wealth this year, propelling him to the fifth spot in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Ambani’s dealmaking has lured investments from Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) to Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). into his digital platform in recent months. The 63-year-old tycoon has identified technology and retail as future growth areas in a pivot away from the energy businesses he inherited from his father who died in 2002.
Meanwhile, large scale global oil demand destruction — some 30 million barrels a day, or a third of regular usage, in April — sent energy markets into a second-quarter tailspin, from which they’ve only recently started to recover. Worst-in-a-generation oil prices combined with OPEC production cuts, collapsing refining margins and millions of barrels of unsold crude have hurt big oil companies including Exxon and Chevron Corp. (NYSE:CVX)
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