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Friday, June 23, 2006

Vishal Mega Mart plans IPO, to offload 20-25% stake

The Delhi-based Burman family, promoters of Dabur India, seems to have hopped on to the retail bandwagon. The company has invested Rs 4 crore (Rs 40 million) to pick up stake in North India-based retail chain Vishal Mega Mart. There has been widespread speculation over the past few months on the family making investments in the retail sector, reports The Hindu Business Line.

Confirming the development, Ram Chandra Agarwal, managing director of Vishal Mega Mart, said that the Burmans had picked up 1% stake in the company for Rs 200 per share. Incidentally, this is not the first strategic investment in Vishal Mega Mart. Earlier, Bennett Coleman & Co had picked up 12% stake in the company, which has since been diluted to 10% due to an expansion of its shareholding base.

IPO plans

Vishal Mega Mart, which is planning an IPO later this year, said it would offload 20-25% stake through the public issue. At present, the promoters hold 80-85% stake in the company.

The company plans to raise about Rs 125-150 crore (Rs 1.25-1.50 billon) from the IPO to fund its expansion plans, which includes opening around 40 stores by the next year. Industry watchers point out that the stake purchase in Vishal may be a sign of further investments in the booming retail sector by the Burman family.

There has been speculation that the Burmans have been in talks with a South-based retail chain, apart from scouting for other opportunities in this sector.

The Burman family, through its investment firms, has made significant investments across a wide range of sectors in the last few years. The family invested in tractor business late last year by picking up 11.19% stake in Chandigarh-based Punjab Tractors. It upped its stake in Punjab Tractors to about 13.5% subsequently.

The family has also invested in the financial services and life insurance sectors, and holds stakes in ABN Amro Securities, Lord Krishna Bank, Fidelity Mutual Fund Management and Aviva Life Insurance Company.

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