INDIA: Radico Khaitan seeks international drinks partners
Radico Khaitan seeks international tie-ups
Radico Khaitan is in talks with international drinks companies with a view to importing and distributing new brands in the firm's native India.
Radico Khaitan's senior vice president for international business, Ankur Sachdeva, confirmed the group's strategy to just-drinks today (2 November). "We are in dialogue with a few international drinks companies for import and distribution of their leading brands in India, for both domestic as well as travel retail segments of the market," he said.
Radico Khaitan already operates joint ventures with Diageo and E&J Gallo in India. Further deals would build the firm's presence in an alcoholic drinks sector dominated by Vijay Mallya's United Spirits and United Breweries.
"The strategy is to build a complimentary portfolio of iconic brands and as such all major product categories are being looked at," said Sachdeva, who previously headed up business development for William Grant & Sons in India.
He said that Radico Khaitan does not expect existing joint ventures to limit its options in bringing in new international drinks brands. "The international business division headed by myself is 100% [the] initiative of Radico Khaitan Ltd and I don’t envisage any conflict with the existing Diageo – Radico Khaitan JV," he said.
The firm's joint venture with Diageo does not cover any brands that are bottled overseas, such as Johnnie Walker. "As far as the JV with Diageo goes, the same is continuing and is only for the locally-produced Masterstroke whisky brand," said Sachdeva.
There was speculation earlier this year that Diageo would take control of the joint venture by acquiring Radico Khaitain's 50% stake. Talks have taken place between the two firms, just-drinks understands from a source familiar with the situation.
Radico Khaitan is best known for its 8pm whisky and Contessa rum, as well as Old Admiral brandy and Magic Moments vodka. It has around a 10% volume share of India's spirits market.
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