The Telegraph
Monday , October 1 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bharti in retail talks with Walmart

New Delhi, Sept. 30 (PTI): Bharti Enterprises has started talks with Walmart and is hoping to form a 50:50 joint venture to roll out retail outlets in India, a top company official has said.

The two companies have an equal partnership in the wholesale business, and the Indian partner is hopeful of replicating it in retail, following the Centre’s decision to allow up to 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail.

Rajan Bharti Mittal, vice-chairman and MD of Bharti Enterprises, said, “Talks have started” and the company was hopeful that the nature of their relationship, under which Walmart became an equal partner in wholesale business despite having a chance of bringing in 100 per cent FDI would continue.

“All I am trying to say here is that when there is opportunity to go 100 per cent in wholesale, they had 50:50 with Bharti. Now, with the opening up of the front-end, the discussions are on the table and hopefully the relationship that we have enjoyed in the last five years will continue,” Mittal said in a television programme today.

Asked if the retail venture will still be a 50:50 one, he said: “That’s what I am trying to say. That’s the relationship we have despite 100 per cent being open (in wholesale).”

Addressing concerns

Mittal also dismissed various reports questioning the impact and work ethics of Walmart terming them as “myth”.

“That’s not true to be honest. That’s a myth of course. (If) you really look at the US where they do $300 billion business, they have about 11 per cent of market share. They save about $230 billion worth to the consumers and (have created) two million jobs.