The law has not yet been passed, but Kishore Biyani-promoted Future Group is ready with plans to sell stake to foreign investors in several verticals when FDI in retail becomes a reality.
Ezone, the electronic retailing vertical, could be the first off the block, with discussions with a suitor at an advanced stage. The company is waiting for the final policy push that would allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail."All our formats are FDI-ready and we are in discussions," Kishore Biyani, Future Group chairman, told HT.
Ezone is the consumer durable and infotech chain of the Rs 12,000-crore Future Group. It was separated from the flagship Pantaloons and made into a separate company earlier this year.
“Talks are at an initial stage and the company is yet to decide on what percentage it would offload in Ezone,” a source said.
The government is likely to allow global supermarkets such as Walmart, Tesco and Carrefour to set up deep discount stores in India through stakes in Indian retail firms.
The department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) has proposed to allow upto 51% FDI in multi-brand retail and 100% in single-brand retail, which most ministries and departments have agreed with.
According the proposed policy, at least 50% of the total FDI should be in back-end infrastructure such as cold-chain and warehousing. At present, FDI in multi-brand retail is prohibited in India, but the government allows 51% FDI in single brand retailing and 100% in wholesale cash-and-carry trade.