Landmark to invest $500 million in India, mum on Carrefour | business | Hindustan Times
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Landmark to invest $500 million in India, mum on Carrefour

It is learnt that the group has lined up an ambitious $500 million expansion plan for India, reports Narayanan Madhavan.

business Updated: Apr 05, 2007 18:42 IST

Dubai-based Landmark group, which runs the Lifestyle and Home Centre retail chain, is keeping a studied silence on whether it would partner France's Carrefour in its entry into the country's aggressively growing retail sector, while it has lined up an ambitious $500 million expansion plan for India.

The plan includes supermarkets and hypermarkets which would take on ventures of global giants like Tesco and Wal-Mart. The group also plans to expand a franchised restaurant chain and launch budget hotels.

Landmark officials told a news conference on Thursday that the privately held group, the largest non-food retailer in the Arabian Gulf and founded by non-resident Indian entrepreneur Micky Jagtiani, aimed to multiply revenues from Indian operations nearly 10-fold by 2010.

"We plan to invest $500 million and exceed one billion dollars in turnover by 2010," said Renuka Jagtiani, the founder's wife and director in the group which has $1.5 billion in revenues of which $115 is currently accounted for by India, most of it from the two retail chains. The group has invested $100 million in India since starting out in 1998.

Kabir Lumba, executive director who runs Lifestyle International Private Ltd, said the company planned to take the number of Lifestyle stores that caters to fashion-conscious customers to 35 in three years from the current 11, while home goods chain Home Centre will go up to 15 from the current five over the same period.

"We are looking at trebling our turnover in the next three years," said Lumba. This would involve an investment of Rs 450 crore, or more than $100 million, in the two retail chains. The group has so far invested $100 million in India.

H Ramanathan, group director, said Landmark was keen on a foreign partnership for the supermarket and hypermarket businesses, in which foreign direct investment (FDI) regulations currently do not permit multi-brand retail outlets such as Wal-Mart and Tesco.

However, Wal-Mart has tied up with the Bharti group as part of a plan under which foreign firms are allowed to sell to shop-owners and domestic chains. Landmark intends to have a similar partnership.

"From the group we are clear that we want to have a technical arrangement," Ramanathan said, adding nothing had been finalised, but Landmark was open to a joint venture with an international retailer for the back-end while the group would run the front-end stores.

The group's first supermarket will start in May in Bangalore, and the hypermarket, also in the same city, is expected before the year-end. Both will function under the Max brand name until a partner joins up, Ramanathan said.