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Baggas to boost BDA's flagship liquor brand

Boby Kurian

The entry of Mr Bagga comes at a time when Mr Kishore Chhabria is attempting to extend BDA into new categories such as beer and country liquor.

Bangalore , Nov. 5

THE Kishore Chhabria-managed BDA Ltd is augmenting its distribution arsenal in the domestic alcoholic beverage sector. It has roped in Mr Harminder Singh Bagga, a bottler who ranks among the top four distributors in the liquor trade, to promote brands in the crucial southern markets of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

The Bagga family will produce and promote BDA's Flagship brand, Officers' Choice Whisky, in Andhra Pradesh, while its role in the neighbouring Karnataka will be mainly for promotions. Mr Bagga brings with him critical distribution and financial muscle, which could improve the standing of Officers' Choice. The entry of Mr Bagga comes at a time when Mr Kishore Chhabria is attempting to extend BDA into new categories such as beer and country liquor.

Mr Bagga recently came out of the Shaw Wallace fold following settlement of dues. He had been an ally of Shaw Wallace since the mid- `90s when he broke away from UB.

It must be mentioned that speculation about Mr Bagga's exit from Shaw Wallace was in the air for a while and the settlement leaves him with a significant cash pile, sources said. Incidentally, Mr Kishore Chhabria's association with Mr Bagga comes at a time when the former is poised to settle a decade long legal battle with UB group Chairman, Mr Vijay Mallya, for control over Herbertsons.

Meanwhile, the BDA's new CEO, Mr Amar Sinha, former head of Shaw Wallace liquor division and Radico Khaitan, is also seen in talks to strengthen the company's ties with the three other powerful players in the domestic liquor distribution business.

This include Mr Jawahar Jaiswal, Mr Tilak Raj Sharma and Mr P. Chadda, who have crucial stakes in the liquor trade of northern States such as Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttaranchal. Sources said BDA's efforts to consolidate ties with these distributors would help uplift the profile of the company and its brands.

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