Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006
Marketing - Retailing
Logistics - Modernisation
Industry & Economy - Infrastructure
Bharti in talks with Wal-Mart, Tesco for retail foray
New Delhi , March 20
After setting up a nationwide telecom network, Bharti Enterprises is now scouting for a foreign partner to make a foray into the food retail business segment.
The company is understood to be in talks with a number of global retail majors, including Walmart, Tesco, and Carrefour, and will finalise its plans within a few months.
Confirming the move, Mr Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director, said: "The Bharti group is considering an entry into the retail business. The group will decide on the retail venture in a few months."
Industry sources said that talks were on with major retail companies for setting up a supermarket chain in India.
Speaking on the sidelines of the inaugural function of Bharti School of Telecom and Management, Mr Mittal also said that Bharti would be keen to participate in the modernisation of Chennai and Kolkata airports.
Bharti had earlier bid for the Delhi airport in association with Singapore's Changi Airport but had to drop out of the race after the foreign partner withdrew its application.
Recent reports in the British media had said that Tesco is in talks with Bharti for a £750-million joint venture to set up a supermarket chain. However, there has been no official confirmation of the same.
Analysts said that Bharti's proposed business venture would entail predominantly food retail for which synergies could be generated with Fresh Field, its agri-food business.
In the telecom segment, Mr Mittal said, Bharti Teletech has bid for the 30 per cent stake held by Telecom Consultants India Ltd (TCIL) in Hexacom.
TCIL, a PSU, had invited bids for its stake in Hexacom, which offers cellular service in Rajasthan.
If Bharti's bid comes through, its stake in the cellular company would go up to 95 per cent.
Shyam Telecom, the original promoter of Hexacom, has also bid for the stake.
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