Reliance Retail to raise $879m for expansion in India

26 March 2012 (Last Updated March 26th, 2012 02:45)

Indian firm Reliance Retail plans to raise up to Rs45bn ($879.43m) from its parent company Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) to expand its presence in India.

Indian firm Reliance Retail plans to raise up to Rs45bn ($879.43m) from its parent company Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) to expand its presence in India.

The loss-making Reliance Retail has access to RIL's cash and cash equivalent of over Rs420bn ($8.20bn), which the firm can use to fund its expansion plans.

Though the company's board will decide the mode of fund infusion, the funds are likely to come in several tranches.

Reliance Retail senior executive told The Economic Times that the funds will primarily be invested in adding several big-box stores or hypermarkets as well as in expanding in the consumer durables and apparel formats.

The retailer aims to double the number of its consumer durable shops and grow the number of apparel stores by 30%.

The firm, traditionally focused on smaller format stores, is now concentrating on hypermarkets that stock everything from apparel to food and are built on about 60,000-80,000ft².

Reliance Retail currently owns less than half-a-dozen hypermarkets, however, under the leadership of two retail veterans from China, Rob Cissell and Shawn Gray, the retailer has been buying real estate for big-box formats expansion.

The company operates over 1,200 retail outlets across multiple formats in 86 Indian cities.

Reliance Fresh, the firm's fruit, vegetables and grocery stores, accounts for 50% of the total outlets.

The company runs speciality stores under the nameplates - Digital, Footprints, Jewels, Trends and Timeout.

Reliance Retail has joint ventures with Hamleys, Marks & Spencer and Vision Express.

In India, the retail sector has proved to be a tough proposition for retailers such as Subhiksha and Vishal Retail, as they were unable to service the borrowings that financed their expansion plans.

Earlier this month, Future Group chairman Kishore Biyani told the newspaper that the firm is working on 18 deals and expects to consummate many of the transactions early next fiscal.

"We will be a zero-debt company by March 2013.

"We need to streamline operations, enhance our focus on food and fashion, and reduce our focus on furniture and electronics," Biyani said.