The Telegraph
Wednesday , January 22 , 2014
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Allied Blenders chases cash

Deepak Roy in Calcutta on Tuesday. Picture by Kishor Roy Chowdhury

Calcutta, Jan. 21: Allied Blenders and Distillers (ABD) is in talks with several private equity firms to raise money to fund its expansion.

The Kishore Chhabria company, which plans to either acquire local firms or jack up existing capacity to grow its business, will finalise the amount it plans to raise within four to six weeks.

Executive vice-chairman and CEO Deepak Roy today said, “We are in talks with some PE firms as well as potential (acquisition) targets. The amount could be $100 million or $200 million.”

US-based Carlyle and TPG are among the private equity firms with whom ABD has initiated talks. The company plans to expand capacity in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab.

According to Roy, the company had registered a compounded annual growth rate of 24 per cent in the last seven years.

However, to sustain the growth rate, the company will have to build capacity and expand its product portfolio. Roy launched the company’s semi premium offering, Officer’s Choice Black, here today.

The domestic spirits market is growing at a measly 1 per cent, hit by excise duty and rising raw material prices.

ABD has zeroed in on a few companies for acquisition. Among them is Maharashtra-based Tilaknagar Industries, the makers of Mansion House whisky and brandy.

Roy said it would no longer have new products under the Officer’s Choice brand, which constitutes over 80 per cent of its total sales.

In the next 6-8 months, ABD is planning to introduce a different whisky brand that will compete against Pernod Ricard’s Blender’s Pride.

Asked about the company’s plans to launch a Scotch brand, Roy said, “We are interested in that. But we will have to get a good brand so that we can bottle here and market domestically.”