Sovereign fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is rumoured to be in advanced talks with India’s Reliance Industries Ltd to invest between $1.5 billion and $2 billion in an infrastructure investment trust that holds the company’s fibre optic assets, according to Indian press reports.
Mint, one of India’s premium business news publications, reports that Jio Digital Fibre has a 700,000 kilometre network of fibre optic cables in India and plans to expand it to 1.1 million kilometres. On top of over $20 billion already raised through the sale of stakes in digital assets unit Jio Platforms Ltd, monetising the company’s fibre assets would, reports say, go a long way towards reducing the company’s overall costs.
Qatar’s potential investment in Jio Fibre – there’s no unequivocal announcement of a deal from either party yet – follows a recent announcement by Indian tax authorities that they will exempt tax for sovereign funds investing in India’s infrastructure sector.
One can hardly accuse the Jio business of avoiding the headlines lately. After attracting investment from Facebook, Microsoft, Intel and Qualcomm – among many others – Jio Platforms was able to announce earlier in July the purchase of a $4.5 billion stake in the company by Google. Meanwhile Reliance Jio Infocomm has announced that it is apparently aiming to become a 5G vendor and to develop an entry-level affordable smartphone.
While Jio can certainly boast some very diverse and successful business interests, its telecommunications and related divisions in particular look set for a very interesting period.