Home / Companies / News /  Reliance Retail to invest in Big Cola, Aakash Namkeen

NEW DELHI : After completing the acquisition of soft drink brand Campa, Reliance Retail is looking to add more fast-moving consumer goods brands to its portfolio. The company is expected to sign a joint venture agreement with AJE India, the maker of carbonated beverage brand Big Cola, besides acquiring Indore-based Aakash Namkeen Pvt. Ltd.

It is also in talks with several regional and local brands to help them expand their operations across modern and general trade in India, said two people aware of the company’s plans.

Peru-based AJE Group operates its India business from its local headquarters in Pune, and its portfolio includes Big Cola, Big Orange, energy drink Volt and beverage brand Cfruit. Reliance is looking to form a joint venture with the company to capitalize on existing manufacturing and distribution capacity.

E-mail queries to AJE Group ’s India and international offices and Aakash Namkeen did not elicit a response till press time.

Meanwhile, Reliance Retail is also in talks with Aakash Namkeen, which was established in 1936, said one of the two people, seeking anonymity. The company manufactures namkeens, such as ratlami sev, chivda and bhel, and packaged traditional sweets including besan ladoo, gulab jamun and sohan papdi.

Mint had reported that Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd had picked up a controlling stake in makeup and personal care brand Insight Cosmetics. It is also in the process of buying out beverage brand Sosyo from Surat-based Hajoori beverages, the people added.

At its 45 annual general meeting last month, Reliance Retail said it will build a large FMCG business by growing its existing private labels and by acquiring new brands. “I’m excited to announce that this year we will launch our fast-moving consumer goods business. The objective of this business is to develop and deliver products that solve every Indian’s daily needs, with high quality products at affordable pricing," Isha Ambani, director, RRVL, had said.

The company could look at different ways to partner with brands, said a person familiar with its plans. “All these are happening through a combination of acquisitions or joint ventures or licensing of brands," he said also on condition of anonymity.

A company spokesperson, however, said: “As a policy, we do not comment on media speculations and rumours." “The company is evaluating opportunities on an ongoing basis," he added.

While the focus seems to be on foods and beverages, the company could also look at personal and home care brands. Meanwhile, it has been actively deploying distributors for scaling up its private labels, and is launching pack sizes specific to general trade outlets.

Reliance sells instant noodles and soup, biscuits, namkeen, sweets, pasta, vermicelli, ketchup and jams under the Snac Tac brand. Flour, edible oils, rice, pulses, dry fruits, spices and masala, salt, sugar are available under the Good Life brand, while olive oil is sold under the Siege brand. It also sells beverages under Bubbles and Yeah! labels.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Suneera Tandon

Suneera Tandon is a New Delhi based reporter covering consumer goods for Mint. Suneera reports on fast moving consumer goods makers, retailers as well as other consumer-facing businesses such as restaurants and malls. She is deeply interested in what consumers across urban and rural India buy, wear and eat. Suneera holds a masters degree in English Literature from the University of Delhi.
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