Bisleri in advanced talks with Tatas, others to sell biz


Homegrown Bisleri International Pvt. Ltd is in advanced discussions to sell its business, comprising its flagship bottled water brand Bisleri, and it may close the deal in 7-8 months, Ramesh Chauhan, chairman, Bisleri International, said in an interview.

Tata Consumer Products is a frontrunner, he said. “Other companies are in the race, too, and the deal is yet to be finalized, as the discussions are still underway on whether Bisleri will sell its entire business.”

Chauhan however declined to comment on the valuation. “The business has to continue. I am 82. My daughter has been involved, and has done good work, but she cannot take up the entire company.” This is one reason that prompted him to sell the firm he had acquired in 1969, Chauhad added.

The Economic Times was the first to report the development on Thursday valuing the deal at 7,000 crore.

A Bisleri International spokesperson said: “We are in discussions and cannot disclose further.”

In a clarification to the stock exchanges, Tata Consumer Products said it evaluates strategic opportunities for growth of its business on an ongoing basis. “TCPL is in discussions with various parties, including Bisleri International Pvt. Ltd. The company will make appropriate announcement and disclosure as and when any requirement arises. At this point in time, there is no information to be provided in respect to the said media report,” a company spokesperson said.

Bisleri became the largest selling bottled-water brand in India. TCPL sells brands such as Himalayan Natural Mineral Water and Tata Copper Plus. Other brands in the bottled-water segment include Pepsi’s Aquafina, Coca Cola’s Kinley, Parle Agro’s Bailley and Qua from the Narang group.

Along with his brother Prakash, Chauhan is credited with creating iconic brands, including ThumsUp, Limca, Maaza, Gold Spot and Citra, which were acquired by multinational firm Coca-Cola in the 1990s.

Chauhan set up Parle Exports Pvt Ltd in 1994 and acquired the Bisleri brand from an Italian entrepreneur to enter the mineral water market in India.

Today, Bisleri International has a strong presence with 133 operational plants and a network of nearly 4,000 distributors and 5,000 trucks in India and neighbouring countries. It also sells other flavoured beverages such as Limonata, Spyci and Fonzo.

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