Tata reportedly eyeing a stake in Bisleri to quench its thirst for expansion

Bisleri’s Chairman Ramesh Chauhan had earlier said that he will sell the company to an Indian who will promote and develop the brand.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Monday, September 12, 2022, 02:47 PM IST
article-image
Bisleri now has a network of 5000 trucks to carry bottled water from 150 manufacturing facilities to more than 4000 distributors across India. |

From street-side stalls to restaurants, Bisleri’s brand identity is synonymous with clean, affordable drinking water across India. Another iconic brand Tata has a legacy of more than 150 years, and a presence in almost every sector from packaged goods to automobiles. The salt to steel conglomerate has been known for big ticket acquisitions including global names such as Jaguar Land Rover and Tetley.

Now, reports suggest that Tata has set sights on a stake in bottled-water giant Bisleri, which it also plans to increase with time. According to The Economic Times, the proposed acquisition will allow Tata to dive into the entry-level, mid-segment and premium packaged water markets, with an established market network of retail stores, chemist channels, hotels, restaurants and bulk delivery. The report has also suggested that Bisleri Chairman Ramesh Chauhan may accept a stake dilution process as part of a succession strategy.

Tata’s thirst for expansion

Tata has already introduced Himalayan, Tata Water Plus and Tata Copper+ under its consumer products business, which also sells Eight O’ Clock Coffee and operates Starbucks outlets across India. Two years back, Tata Consumer had bought PepsiCo’s stake in NourishCo, through which it plans to scale up distribution of bottled water and flavoured drink Tata Gluco+, while launching products including an oral rehydration drink. Its premium Himalayan water, which also competes with Bisleri’s Vedica Natural Mountain Water, was launched in the UK last year.

Bisleri’s brand building legacy

Bisleri has a legacy of its own, as an Italian brand which was later bought by Parle’s Ramesh Chauhan in 1969 and turned into a bottled water brand which maintains a 60 per cent market share despite competition. Today Bisleri quenches India’s thirst with 150 manufacturing plants, from where 5000 trucks carry water to more than 4000 distributors. It has also ventured into soft drinks, soda and even hand sanitisers during the pandemic.

The stake acquisition by Tata won’t be a first for Chauhan who also created iconic beverages Thums Up, Gold Spot and Limca, before selling them to Coca Cola back in 1993. He had also been approached for stake acquisitions in Bisleri by global Nestle and Danone back in 2002, but the talks didn’t materialise. Although several firms are showing interest in the brand, Chauhan had earlier said that he is more likely to sell Bisleri to an Indian who will “promote and develop the brand.”

According to The Economic Times, Reliance Retail was keen on acquiring a stake in Bisleri as well, but the talks were inconclusive. Tata Consumer on the other hand seeks to acquire five brands for its portfolio, as part of an organic expansion strategy.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

Will Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde reduce stamp duty on property?

Will Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde reduce stamp duty on property?

Concessional custom duty on edible oil import extended till March 2023

Concessional custom duty on edible oil import extended till March 2023

Finance Ministry to organise special campaign to deepen financial inclusion across India

Finance Ministry to organise special campaign to deepen financial inclusion across India

The role of International Business degree in career growth

The role of International Business degree in career growth

Suzlon founder Tulsi Tanti passes away

Suzlon founder Tulsi Tanti passes away