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Third hand

The capital’s popular restaurant chain, Nirula’s, is likely to change hands again. Its existing owners are exploring options to sell their stake in the company, reports Ruchi Hajela.

delhi Updated: Feb 03, 2009 00:26 IST
Ruchi Hajela

The capital’s popular restaurant chain, Nirula’s, is likely to change hands again.

Its existing owners are exploring options to sell their stake in the company.

The company’s current owners — Malaysian private equity firm Navis Capital Partners and Samir Kuckreja, nephew of former owner Lalit Nirula — have been on the lookout for a potential buyer for over a year.

The company has now appointed multinational investment banking firm NM Rothschild to find potential suitors.

“Nirula’s is focused on expanding aggressively to set-up another 100 outlets across India and abroad. The company has always been attractive to potential investors and continues to be approached with several investment proposals all the time.

“In order to manage such queries and explore the proposals, we have appointed an investment banker.

“However, at this stage, we would like to state that Nirula’s continues to be owned by Navis Capital Partners and Samir Kuckreja, and this shareholding pattern is not expected to change in the foreseeable future,” a Nirula’s spokesperson told HT on Monday.

Kuckreja worked with Nirula’s for over nine years before acquiring it in June 2006. The Indian restaurant brand competes with internationals like McDonald’s on one hand and unorganised restaurant players on the other.

Navis Capital Partners and Kuckreja had bought the company for Rs 90 crore in June 2006 from the Nirula family.

An industry source, who did not wish to be identified, said Kuckreja currently owns less than 10 per cent stake in the restaurant chain.

Company officials, however, declined to give details about the ownership pattern.

The company spokesperson also declined to comment on the company’s revenues and profit margins.

The Nirula’s restaurant chain has a total of 61 outlets comprising business hotels, casual dining and quick service restaurants across North India. It also plans to set up another 100 outlets by the end of 2011.

In the past, the company was also looking at taking its quick service restaurants and casual dining ‘Potpourri’ brand to international markets like United Kingdom, Middle East and Nepal, amongst others.

Last year, Nirula’s had also set up an ice-cream museum at its ice-cream factory at Noida.

In times when property rentals are at a high, Nirula’s has been expanding its presence through outlets at high footfall areas like petrol pumps, airports and highways.