Billionaire Adani’s unit eyes acquisitions to push food business

Adani Wilmar, the kitchen essentials firm owned by Gautam Adani, is scouting for local and overseas acquisition targets as Asia's richest man doubles down on boosting his empire's food operations weeks after Reliance Industries announced plans to launch a consumer goods business.

"We are looking at acquiring brands in staple foods and distribution companies to boost our consumer goods offering and reach," Angshu Mallick, chief executive officer and managing director at Adani Wilmar, said in an interview on Wednesday (Sep 14). "We are expecting to conclude a couple of acquisitions by March." 

The company has earmarked 5 billion rupees (S$88.4 million) from its initial public offering for purchases, Mallick said. Additional funding will come from internal accruals and the 30 billion rupees of planned capital expenditure for next year starting April, he said. The food company's shares have more than tripled since its US$486 million debut in February. 

Conglomerates such as Adani Group and billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries are trying to grab a share of India's food production industry which is pegged at US$400 billion, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization. 

Adani Wilmar recently acquired several brands, including the Kohinoor cooking brand from McCormick Switzerland for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition gave Adani Wilmar exclusive rights over Kohinoor's basmati rice and ready-to-cook, ready-to-eat curries and meals in India. The Adani Group Has been on a tear buying some 32 companies in the past year, valued at about US$17 billion, many outside its core coal- and infrastructure-related businesses.

Reliance Retail, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, announced its foray into the fast-moving consumer goods, or FMCG, business in August, with the aim of developing and delivering high quality products at affordable prices.

"Going forward, companies have to provide quality of products, value for money and robust distribution network," Mallick said, adding his company is witnessing 50 per cent growth in e-commerce distribution via Amazon and Flipkart. BLOOMBERG



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