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Last Updated: Monday, 22 November, 2004, 11:54 GMT
Reliance denies any family row
Reliance Industries' Jamnagar refinery
Reliance dominates India's oil industry
The chairman of India's Reliance Industries has denied any family dispute over the ownership of the country's largest private company.

Shares in Reliance had fallen 3.3% on Friday, their biggest drop in three months, but recovered on Monday to end up more than 1% at 532.8 rupees.

Reliance, whose annual turnover is 800bn rupees ($17.7bn; 9.54bn), spans the oil, petrochemical and telecoms sectors.

The Ambani family, which controls 47% of Reliance, has denied any split.

Reports say the family is due to meet later in the day to discuss the issue.

Internal division

Rumours of a quarrel between the two brothers at the head of the company came to a head last week when Mukesh Ambani, 47, said there were "ownership issues" with his younger brother, Anil, aged 45.

In a television interview last week Mukesh Ambani said: "Reliance is one of the strongest professionally managed companies that attracts huge talent and has moved beyond any one, two or three individuals, including myself.

Mukesh Ambani
I was shocked to find that my response to a question pertaining to the way our businesses are going to go in the future has been torn out of context
Mukesh Ambani
"So while there are ownership issues, these are in [the] private domain," he added.

His brother Anil Ambani is vice-chairman of Reliance Industries and heads Reliance Energy, which supplies power to New Delhi and Mumbai (formerly Bombay).

There has been widespread speculation in India's business press that he wants to take control of part of the group.

On Monday, Mukesh Ambani insisted that his father, group founder Dhirubhai Ambani, had settled all ownership issues before his death and that his comment was taken out of context.

Dhirubhai Ambani is thought to have died without a will, although this has not been confirmed by the family.


"I was shocked to find that my response to a question pertaining to the way our businesses are going to go in the future has been torn out of context," Mukesh Ambani said in a statement on Monday.

"Obviously, it was an attempt to build a sensational story around the phrase 'ownership issues', leading to a spate of speculations and misrepresentation," he added.

Reliance operates India's largest petroleum refinery and produces 12 million tons a year of petrochemicals.

It owns 45% of Reliance Infocomm, India's biggest cellular phone company, and half of Reliance Energy.

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