Reliance Overtakes Exxon to Become World’s Second-Largest Energy Company

A flood of investments into its digital platform has raised Reliance Industries’ market cap past that of its closest rival.

Shares in Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries added 4.3% in Friday trading, pushing its market capitalisation to $189 billion, the highest value ever reached by an Indian company. Meanwhile, rival Exxon Mobil saw its value slide to $184 billion.

The change in the companies’ relative positions reflects the trends of 2020. Reliance’s share price has risen by 46% this year as chief executive Mukesh Ambani has pivoted towards technology and retail, attracting large investments from fellow tech giants Facebook and Google, among others. To date, Ambani has attracted around $20 billion of investments into the company’s Jio Platforms Ltd. unit.

Meanwhile, an early price war accompanied by a precipitous drop in demand for oil due to the COVID-19 pandemic has sharply impacted oil-focused companies. Exxon’s shares have fallen by around 39% amid the global demand slump.

Despite its new focus on the digital space, Reliance’s energy business accounted for around 80% of its revenue by the end of the last fiscal year. Following the company’s pivot towards technology, Mukesh Ambani has added $22.3 billion to his personal wealth in 2020 alone.

Reliance made further gains in early Monday trading, rising by almost 5% as reports emerged that the company was closing in on a deal to acquire Fortune Group’s retail unit.

Both Reliance Industries and Exxon Mobil still fall far short of energy titan Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest company, with its market capitalisation of $1.75 trillion.

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