Bharti Enterprises announced its second strategic partner in its retail expansion on Friday by inducting Filipino firm Del Monte Pacific Ltd in its venture to sell agricultural goods, FieldFresh Foods Pvt Ltd. Bharti will acquire Del Monte's manufacturing facilities in India in Bharti's strategic shift from retailing fresh farm produce to making processed goods.
The emphasis seems to have shifted following a controversy over organised retail threatening entrenched shopkeepers, which has hit rival RelianceFresh's plans in Uttar Pradesh.
Del Monte will pick up 40 per cent in the venture in which Bharti will hold 50 per cent and investment firm EL Rothschild the remaining 10 per cent.
"The renewed focus of FieldFresh will reflect the changing retail environment and move from just fresh produce to processing. Given the growing opportunities in the Indian economy, FieldFresh plans to enhance its focus through value-added products in the domestic market," Bharti Enterprises said in a statement.
"It will also evolve a comprehensive strategy for serving the needs of the business-to-business segment. The company will continue to cater to export markets," the statement added.
Del Monte follows Bharti's separate venture with global giant Wal-Mart for large cash-and-carry wholesale stores.
"Having created the basic building blocks of the business in the fresh produce category, we are looking at upscaling our operations through processing and value added products. Del Monte will bring to FieldFresh its immense strength and experience in the area of processing and branded food products. Going forward, our aim is to emerge as a significant player in this segment," Vice-Chairman Rakesh Mittal said in a statement.
Globally, Del Monte Pacific, listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, enjoys a leading market share for processed pineapple products and is a leading market player in mixed fruits, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, juice and ketchup in the Philippines.