Diageo and Radico in talks

Diageo and Radico in talks

Diageo is understood to be seeking control of its 50-50 spirits joint venture with Radico Khaitain in India.

The UK-based drinks firm has received clearance from the Indian Government  to take full control of the Diageo Radico Distilleries venture, conditional upon Radico Khaitan's support for the move.

Radico Khaitan has previously stated its opposition to being bought out of the JV, but the groups have begun negotiations on a way forward.

"We are in talks about the future of the JV, but at this stage they are just exploratory," a spokesperson for Diageo told just-drinks today (11 May). He declined to comment further on the nature of the talks.

Radico Khaitan's chief financial officer, Dilip K Banthiya, was quoted in Reuters yesterday as saying that the firms were in talks over the possibility of Diageo increasing its stake.

Diageo's negotiations over a tie-up with United Spirits, which controls more than two thirds of the Indian spirits market by volume, fell apart last autumn. Since then, the The Johnnie Walker whisky producer has been seeking other ways to gain a greater foothold in the country's strongly emerging spirits market.
Diageo began its venture with Radico Khaitan in 2006.

Radico Khaitain yesterday reported net profits of INR499.4m (US$11m) for the year to the end of March, compared to just INR65.4m in the previous year.