As a part of the agreement, the current management will continue for two years
Ramesh Chauhan, the chairman of Bisleri International is divesting India's largest packaged water brand to Tata Consumer Products Ltd (TCPL) for an estimated Rs.7,000 crore deal.
While terming the decision as "painful", Chauhan hoped that Tata "would nurture and take care of it even better." Appreciating Tata's culture of values and integrity, he added that it helped in making up his mind, "despite the aggression shown by other interested buyers."
Bisleri is known to have many takers, including Reliance Retail, Nestle and Danone.
According to Chauhan, the deal was not about the money. "I was more anxious to find a home that would look after it as I did. This is a business I have built with passion and it is now run by equally passionate employees," he remarked.
Although not new to social responsibility activities, he intends to focus on these full-time and has turned to environmental and charitable causes, including medical treatment for the poor.
Of late, Chauhan, 82, has had health issues and since his daughter Jayanti had no inclination to join the business, he considered it better to entrust Bisleri in safer hands for the next level of expansion plans.
Earlier, in 1993, Chauhan and his brother Prakash sold the entire portfolio of aerated drinks including Thums Up, Gold Spot, Limca, Citra, RimZim, and Maaza to Coca-Cola.
Bisleri was originally an Italian brand. In 1965, it entered India, making its foray in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The Chauhans acquired it in 1969. Presently, the company has 122 operational plants.
Meanwhile, Tata sells packaged mineral water under the Himalayan brand and Tata Gluco+ and Tata Copper Plus Water. It is moving aggressively in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) space with the aim to reach the top three slots in the sector. Bisleri will, undoubtedly, give it the necessary boost.