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Sun 6 Sep 2020 09:55 AM

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Reliance-Future Group deal poses uncertainty for Choithrams tie-up

Choithrams & Sons and FCL struck a partnership deal in February 2018 to market the Indian retail major's leading brands to consumers across the Middle East

Reliance-Future Group deal poses uncertainty for Choithrams tie-up

A senior RIL official has told Arabian Business that as of now the plan is to go ahead with whatever arrangements Future Group has in place.

Uncertainty looms over the Middle East’s leading supermarket chain T Choithrams & Sons’ marketing tie-up with India’s Future Group, after the recent acquisition of the FMCG major’s retail and wholesale businesses by a subsidiary of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Group.

Choithrams & Sons and Future Consumer Ltd (FCL), part of the Future Group, struck the partnership deal in February 2018 to market the Indian retail major’s leading brands to consumers across the Middle East.

The tie-up envisaged FCL’s popular brands such as Tasty Treat, Golden Harvest, Karmiq, Kara, Sunkist, ThinkSkin, Mother Earth, Kosh and Nilgiris to be marketed, distributed and retailed across Choithrams’ 60-supermarket network, as well as to other retail stores.

A question mark has arisen now over the continuance of this partnership after Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL), a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), announced on August 29 its acquisition of the retail & wholesale business and the logistics & warehousing business of the Future Group in a $3.4 billion deal.

Reliance Retail's business strategy is perceived to be entirely focussed on the Indian market, and this has led to speculation over the fate of  Future Group's marketing initiatives in the Gulf market.

“It is premature to comment on the issue at this stage as the ownership of the Future Group businesses are yet to be transferred to us,” a Reliance Group spokesperson told Arabian Business, when asked about the future of the partnership deal with Choithrams & Sons.

The acquisition of Future Group businesses is subject to approval of various regulatory bodies in India such as Securities & Exchange Board of India, Competition Commission of India and National Company Law Tribunal, apart from the creditors and shareholders of the Group.

A senior RIL official, however, told Arabian Business that as of now the plan is to go ahead with whatever arrangements Future Group has in place.

“Our initial focus will be on consolidating the Indian retail businesses of the Future Group with our businesses.

“We will figure out the plans on the overseas tie-ups of the Future Group in due course of time,” the RIL official said.

Choithrams & Sons officials could not be immediately contacted for comment on the issue.

According to retail market experts, it was the sound business logic which has driven the Future Group, which owns pan-India hypermarket and supermarket stores such as Super Bazar, Food Bazar and Brand Factory, to join hands with Choithrams & Sons to sell its products across the GCC and the Middle East market.

The partnership enabled Future Consumer to grow its Middle East exports business and leverage Choithrams’ 60-strong retail network throughout the region, while consumers got access to some of India’s most popular food brands.

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