Suntorys soft-drinks unit held an IPO this year

Suntory's soft-drinks unit held an IPO this year

Suntory Holdings has declined to comment on a report it is in talks to buy a 26% stake in India's second-largest spirits producer, Radico Khaitan.

India's Economic Times, citing investment bankers close to the transaction, reported this morning that Suntory is expected to pay INR8.7bn (US$130.9m) for the part-share. The deal is likely to include a provision to buy a further 23% stake at a later date, the report suggested.

The Khaitan family could retain a stake in the distillery business and provide outsourcing support to Suntory, it was reported.

A spokesperson for the Japanese group told just-drinks today (3 September) it does not comment on media speculation. 

Nobody from Radico Khaitan was available for comment. 

In 2009, Radico reportedly wanted to sell a 26% stake in the company, with Suntory mentioned as a possible suitor. In 2011, the two companies signed a distribution and marketing deal to launch Suntory's Yamazaki 12 Year Old and Hibiki 17 Year Old whiskies in India.

Suntory last month boosted its acquisition funds after its food & soft-drinks unit was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The IPO raised US$3.9bn, and company executives have said the money will be used for strategic investments at home and abroad. Suntory's alcohol unit was not included in the stock market floatation.