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The Legacy Of Bisleri International: Journey From Its Inception To Plans Of Acquisition Tata Group had been in advanced discussions with the company for buying a majority stake, however, the deal has stalled over valuation, reported Bloomberg

By Shrabona Ghosh

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Tata Group's talks for a majority stake in Bisleri International, one of India's largest bottled water makers, have stalled over valuation, reported Bloomberg.

The deal had been in advanced discussions and the parties were working on finalizing the transaction. "Bisleri's owners were looking to raise about $1 billion from the deal, the negotiations later hit a snag as the companies were unable to agree on a valuation," the report said, adding that discussions between Tata and Bisleri could still resume and other potential suitors may emerge. Tata and Bisleri declined to comment.

Selling Bisleri was a painful decision for Ramesh Chauhan, chairman, Bisleri International. However, his belief in the Tata Group's values and integrity helped him in taking the tough call.

Bisleri, India's largest packaged water company, has been a household name for decades.The brand has a strong presence with 122 operational plants and a strong distribution network: 4,500 distributors and 5,000 distribution trucks across India and neighboring countries. "We have always believed in our promise of providing safe, pure and healthy mineral water to consumers for the last 50 years and we strive to carry on this legacy in future," quoted the brand's website.

At the age of 27, Ramesh J Chauhan, introduced several soft drinks brands under Parle. In 1969, the company bought Bisleri from the Italian entrepreneur, Felice Bisleri, to make Bisleri soda, not mineral water. The 70s was a game changer for the company. With the ousting of Coca Cola from the Indian market, Chauhan went on to become the 'father of the Indian soft drink industry.' "We introduced Gold Spot, Limca, Maaza and Thumbs Up."

"But in 1993, our franchises gave in to market forces; they wanted to have foreign brands associated with them. Hence, we sold Thumbs Up, Limca, Citra and Gold Spot to the U.S. giant Coca-Cola," Chauhan told Entrepreneur India in a previous interview.

Only after selling the brands to Coca-Cola, Chauhan set out to make Bisleri a major success. The first milestone or highlight was to create a terrific distribution network, which is primarily responsible for Bisleri's growth. "There were a couple of hindrances that we faced, like the weight of the product. Since the product is bulky and heavy and the price per kilo is reasonable for the 20 liter home pack, the cost of transportation becomes very high as compared to the selling price. Availability also decreased with distance," he said.

Later he brought in changes and made strategies that crafted the success story of Bisleri. With a career spanning across 52 years, Chauhan's leadership and vision made Bisleri a household name.

Shrabona Ghosh

Correspondent

A journalist with a cosmopolitan mindset. I lead a project called 'Corporate Innovations' wherein I cover corporates across verticals and try to tell stories on innovations. Apart from this, I write industry pieces on FMCGs, auto, aviation, 5G and defense. 
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