Spencer’s woos for­eign chains for in­vest­ment

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Su­mit Moitra KOLKATA

Power gen­er­a­tion com­pany CESC is in talks with over­seas play­ers for pos­si­ble equity par­tic­i­pa­tion in its re­tail ven­ture, Spencer’s.

“There is some kind of a di­a­logue, but till the FDI (for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment) rules are amended, it ac­tu­ally doesn’t have any bear­ing,” CESC vicechair­man San­jiv Goenka said.

The talks as­sume sig­nif­i­cance in the wake of a com­mit­tee of sec­re­taries giv­ing an in-prin­ci­ple ap­proval to al­low up to 51% for­eign FDI in multi-brand re­tail.

Cur­rently, FDI is only al­lowed in sin­gle brand stores and cash-and-carry whole­sale busi­nesses. Though the ap­proval of the sec­re­taries’ panel doesn’t per se open the doors to global re­tail ma­jors, it does give hope to re­tail­ers seek­ing equity par­tic­i­pa­tion.

The rec­om­men­da­tions will now go to the com­merce min­istry and then to the Cabi­net for fi­nal ap­proval.

“We are not go­ing for PE fund­ing in re­tail but with FDI likely to be al­lowed, it is a bet­ter op­tion,” Goenka, the head of RP-San­jiv Goenka group, said on the side­lines of the an­nual gen­eral meet­ing of CESC.

Spencer’s Re­tail has big plans for ex­pan­sion, though.

“We’ve got lots of prop­er­ties tied up. In the next 30 months, we would def­i­nitely be at 2.5 mil­lion sq ft,” said Goenka.

The re­tail arm, which has more than 220 stores to­talling over 1 mil­lion sq ft floor area, is in­vest­ing about 250 crore in Spencers’ Gal­le­ria, an up­com­ing lux­ury mall in cen­tral Kolkata, said Goenka.

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