Global retailer Amazon and domestic private equity company Samara Capital have purchased Aditya Birla’s food and grocery chain More for nearly Rs 4,200 crore. The deal will help Aditya Birla Retail Limited (ABRL) clear its debt of around Rs 4,000 crore as on March 2018. Notably, More is India’s fourth largest retail chain after Future Group’s Big Bazaar, Reliance Retail and DMart. ABRL gave its approval to the deal on Wednesday.
While private equity fund Samara Capital acquired the majority 51 percent in Aditya Birla’s food and retail business, Amazon’s investment arm, Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings, purchased the remaining 49 percent, FE sources said.
For the first time in fiscal year 2018, ABRL recorded positive earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortisation of Rs 1 crore. The firm’s revenue for the fiscal year was Rs 4,400 crore, up 5 percent. Its losses came down to Rs 490 crore. With this buyout, the new owners of More will expand its chain which had got stalled due to firm’s high debt, sources told FE. It is expected that 100-150 stores will be set up every year. More has 575 stores at present.
Arvind Singhal, chairman, Technopak, told FE, “We will see more foreign investors investing in the retail sector and food and grocery is turning out to be a segment where the big giants like Amazon, Flipkart, Reliance, Future Group all are competing and want to establish themselves. Also a deal size of around Rs 4,000 crore is not that small and would turn out well for Amazon.”
Global retailer Amazon is already into food and grocery retailing through its platform, Amazon Prime Now. Prime Now is currently limited to locations like Mumbai, the National Capital Region, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.