Veteran industrialist Ramesh Chauhan on Thursday got many tongues wagging when he said he is scouting for a buyer for his packaged water business Bisleri International and is in talks with several players, including Tata Consumer Products Ltd.
In a regulatory filing, the Tata Group firm also said that it is in discussion with Bisleri International, for growth and expansion of the business of the company. However, the 82-year-old pioneer of the Indian packaged water business denied a report that a Rs 7,000 crore deal has been finalised with Tata Consumer Products Ltd (TCPL).
When asked why he is selling the lucrative business, the octogenarian business leader told PTI he needed someone to handle and look into the business affairs and that his daughter Jayanti is not interested in handling the business.
Jayanti Chauhan is the business leader's only child. Upon completing high school, Chauhan joined the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM), Los Angeles to study Product Development, post which, she went on to pursue Fashion Styling at the Istituto Marangoni Milano. She has also studied fashion styling and photography from London College of Fashion and she also has a degree in Arabic from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She is currently the vice-chairperson at Bisleri.
JRC, as she is popularly known, joined the company at the age of 24. She also played a pivotal role in the company's automation at the Delhi plant. She has also restructured departments such as HR, Sales and Marketing, so as to build stronger teams. She took charge of the Mumbai office in 2011.
She is credited with streamlining the operations for Bisleri Mineral Water, Vedica Natural Mineral Water from the Himalayas (the luxury segment), Fizzy Fruit Drinks and Bisleri Hand Purifier.
Ramesh Chauhan also added that the group is in discussions with several prospective buyers. When asked about the report that he has agreed to sell his business to the Tata Group firm, Chauhan, Chairman of Bisleri International said, "It's not correct... We are still discussing." Meanwhile, TCPL also said it will make appropriate announcements in compliance with the guidelines, as and when any such requirement arises. Later in a media statement, Bisleri International Spokesperson said: "We are currently in discussion and cannot disclose further."
Three decades ago, Chauhan sold the soft drinks business to the US beverage major The Coca-Cola Company. He transferred brands such as Thums Up, Gold Spot, Citra, Maaza and Limca in 1993 to the Atlanta-headquartered firm. Of these brands, Thums Up has already become a billion-dollar brand and Coca-Cola expects fruit drinks brand Maaza also to be a billion-dollar brand by 2024
If TCPL's deal with Bisleri is finalised, then it is going to convert the Tata group firm into a leader in the fast-growing bottled water segment. TCPL is already present in the bottled water segment with its brand Himalayan, selling packaged mineral water. Besides, it is also present in the hydration segment with Tata Copper Plus Water and Tata Gluco.
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