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In discussion with Tatas to sell part stake in Bisleri: Ramesh Chauhan

In a major divesting move, Ramesh Chauhan has reportedly decided to give up its control of the brand to Tata Consumer Products Ltd. (TCPL), reported CNBC-TV18.

November 24, 2022 / 12:27 PM IST

Bisleri International will no longer be its own entity, as per latest media reports. In a major divesting move, Ramesh Chauhan has reportedly decided to give up its control of the brand to Tata Consumer Products Ltd. (TCPL), reported CNBC-TV18.

A deal that is estimated to cost Tata Consumer about Rs 6,000-7,000 crore, will make the company new owners of India’s largest packaged water company.

In an exclusive conversation with CNBC-TV18, Ramesh Chauhan, Chairman, Bisleri International Pvt. Ltd, talks about the acquisition proposal. However, mincing his words, he seemed reluctant to divulge critical details.

Also read | Bisleri's Ramesh Chauhan confirms stake sale talks with Tatas and others

Here's the transcript of the interview:

Newspaper reports indicate that Tata group has backed your asset, the Bisleri unit, at what stage of discussions are you at with the Tatas?

Well, you seem to be knowing more than I know. But we are in discussions.

I’m going to quote this newspaper article which quotes you - “I like the Tata culture of values and integrity and hence made up my mind despite the aggression shown by other interested parties.” This seems to suggest that you would like a deal with the Tatas rather than anyone else.

Correct.

So you’re in conversation with the Tatas but it’s not close to a closure?

Yes.

Is there any kind of timeline that you have perhaps put in place?

No need for a timeline. It’s ongoing.

Since your proclivity is towards the Tatas, does that mean all other suitors are off the table or are you still considering other suitors too?

That I cannot share… Others are there but it’s not (in) discussions yet.

Is valuation going to be important or the culture's going to be more important?

Not the valuation.

How much do you and the family own in Bisleri?

100 percent.

There are no other investors?

No, no.

When you sell, the discussions are for the full 100 percent, right?

No. It’ll be part. It will not be 100%.

For how much then?

No, that is to be discussed.

Are you open to selling a minority stake and not looking to sell out the company?

No.

Can you tell us what is the rationale behind selling a stake?

The plain simple thing is that it is our company, we have built it from nothing so we would like to hold onto something.

Since you don’t want to sell the entire company, would you like to sell majority stakes or minority? Would you like to keep 51% at least?

No, that is to be discussed.

Can you please tell us about the business of Bisleri? What is its revenue, market share, and margins?

You’re going into too many details.

Is the revenue around Rs 2,500 crores?

Yes.

And is the profitability around Rs 220 crores?

Approximately, yes.

This is a great business that you have built over the years. Kudos to you for that. Try to tell us a little more about how it’ll play out from here - if you do sell part stake, would you look to close the deal with the Tatas itself because you do believe that they can take it forward? And at some point in time would you be looking to exit completely?

I don’t know. That some point in time will tell.

Will the deal happen in 2022 or 2023? Will it happen next year?

Yes.
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