Mukesh Ambani, the billionaire head of Reliance Industries, has triumphed in the latest dispute with his brother Anil that saw a family disagreement taken to the Indian Supreme Court.
The court ruled this morning that Mukesh was not entitled to uphold a private family agreement that stated he would supply gas to his brother's company at below-market-price. Mukesh's lawyer confirmed to waiting journalists that the ruling "is a complete victory for Mukesh Ambani."
The court also ordered Reliance Industries and Anil's Reliance Natural Resources to renegotiate the terms of their contract within six weeks.
This is the final hearing in the dispute that has lasted nearly five years. The private agreement was drawn up in 2005 during attempted peace talks between the two feuding brothers. The agreement stated that Mukesh's company should supply gas cheaply to Anil's for 17 years following the 2005 deal.
However, Mukesh was reluctant to implement the deal, stating it had not been authorised by the government, and the dispute has since been through several levels of the Indian court system. (Continue reading here)
It seemed that Anil had triumphed last year when the Bombay High Court ruled in his favour, until the Indian government challenged the ruling and the right of the brothers to set commodity prices amongst themselves, which forced the case to be heard in India's highest court. (Continue reading here)
The case attracted global attention as the brothers are still amongst the richest men in the world; Mukesh has a personal fortune of $29 billion, while Anil is worth an estimated $13.7 billion.
Problems began with the competitive pair after the death of their father, Dhirubhai Ambani, in 2002, who founded the Reliance empire. He failed to leave a will or succession plan, resulting in the brothers splitting the business into two separate conglomerates, with each controlling their own.
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India’s squabbling siblings