Bangalore, India, March 3, 2023
According to those acquainted with the situation, valuation is the main obstacle preventing Tata Group from acquiring a controlling stake in Bisleri International Ltd, one of India’s top producers of bottled water.
The Indian conglomerate had been in advanced talks to acquire ownership of Bisleri, and the parties were reportedly trying to finalize the terms of a deal. According to the people knowledgeable about the situation, Bisleri’s owners were seeking to raise around $1 billion through a deal.
All this reportedly happened at a time when both Bisleri and the Tata Group were working on finalising a structure of the transaction.
According to the sources, talks between Tata and Bisleri may yet continue, and more suitors may come forward. Tata and Bisleri representatives declined to comment.
“I am proud of my country. But we need to unite to make a unified India, free of communalism and casteism. We need to build India into a land of equal opportunity for all. We can be a truly great nation if we set our sights high and deliver to the people the fruits of continued growth, prosperity, and equal opportunity.”
On a previous occasion, Ramesh Chauhan, chairman of Bisleri International had said if he sells a stake in the company, it would be to an Indian who will promote and develop the brand.
According to its website, Bisleri dates back to 1949 when Shri Jayantilal Chauhan founded the soft drink manufacturer Parle Group. In 1969, Parle Group bought Bisleri from an Italian businessman.
It claimed to hold a 60% market share in India for bottled mineral water.
The business also produces fizzy drinks and hand sanitizers. In a local television appearance in November, Bisleri Chairman Ramesh Chauhan stated that the company was in discussions to sell a stake to Tata.
By acquiring Bisleri, Tata Group may have been able to increase the number of bottled water brands available in India. The Himalayan Natural Mineral Water and Tata Water Plus brands are owned by Tata Consumer Products Ltd., one of the listed divisions of the conglomerate.
Media sources have suggested that the Tata group plans to grow up the business of Bisleri International through its strategic investment. With more than 150 manufacturing facilities and 4,000 distributors, Bisleri continues to be one of the industry’s top players.
“Tata Consumer Products Ltd. (TCPL) evaluates various strategic opportunities for growth and expansion of the business of the Company, on an ongoing basis. TCPL remains in discussions with various parties, including Bisleri International Private Limited. The company will make appropriate announcements/disclosures as and when any such requirement arises. At this point in time, there is no further information to be provided with respect to this,” Tata Consumer said as per media reports.
This deal would have ensured Tata’s monopoly over the packaged drinking water market in India.
Before this, when the deal between Tata Group and Bisleri was announced in November, media reports also stated that the current management of Bisleri was expected to continue for almost two years.