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Telecom to be the key driver for RIL in 2015, says Nomura

Reliance Industries' much-awaited launch of telecom venture and petrochem and refining expansion plans are likely to be key drivers for the company in 2015, Nomura said in a report.

"2014 has been another disappoint: It is RIL's seventh consecutive year of underperformance relative to the (benchmark) Sensex, and it likely to be the worst," it said.

RIL stocks are down 2 percent this year as compared to Sensex rising by 29 percent.

The low gas price hike, it said, was a letdown to investors, making exploration and production (E&P) unexciting.

"In 2015, we think most focus will be on the much-anticipated telecom launch. However, focus is also likely to be on the fast-completing petchem/refining expansion plans which should further increase RIL's competitive advantage, and be a key driver of 70 percent earnings growth over the next four years," it said.

While telecom is likely to be a key driver in 2015, Nomura said it believed "petchem/refining growth will bring an end to the long phase of RIL's underperformance soon."

Nomura said the sharp underperformance this year was driven by further negative developments in E&P (the low gas price hike virtually ensures that investment in E&P is unlikely to begin anytime soon), high and rising spend in telecom (with not much clarity yet on the timing and offering) and also a relatively weak petchem cycle.

"We think the worst for E&P has already been priced into the shares. In 2015, investors are likely to be eagerly awaiting the launch of telecom, and we think telecom developments will be a driver for stock in near term," it said.

On the positive side, the ongoing expansion in refining/petchem is likely to continue, and there should be increased visibility on improved earnings growth from FY17.

"With a sharp increase in RIL's earnings growth visibility, we think the long phase of relative
under-performance is likely to end soon, and there could be a turnaround of Reliance's relative performance (vs Sensex) in 2015," it said.

2014 was a tough year for Asia refining and chemicals as it suffered from sluggish Chinese demand and supply competition from the US, which thrived on inexpensive energy prices, it said adding 2015 is unlikely to see a dramatic improvement.

"China is making progress on improving self-sufficiency in refining/chemical industries, global economic environment looks to be maintaining status-quo, and energy price remains volatile," the report said.

PTI

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Updated Date: Dec 18, 2014 18:04:22 IST