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Tata, Dabur among suitors to bid for Kraft Heinz in $1 billion India sale

Tata Group and Dabur India Ltd are among suitors selected for the second round of bidding for Kraft Heinz company

business Updated: Aug 04, 2018 16:20 IST
Kraft Heinz,Tata Group,Dabur India
A Heinz Ketchup bottle sits between a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese and a bottle of Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce on a grocery store shelf in New York March 25, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo(REUTERS File Photo)

Kraft Heinz Co. has narrowed the list of bidders for a portfolio of Indian businesses it’s selling that includes the children’s milk drink Complan, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Tata Group, India’s biggest conglomerate, and Dabur India Ltd., the $11.3 billion consumer-goods company, are among suitors selected for the second round of bidding, according to the people. The sale has also drawn interest from an arm of Cadila Healthcare Ltd. and other potential buyers, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Kraft Heinz has been seeking about $1 billion for the assets, the people said. In addition to the Complan product, the Indian businesses being sold include the Glucon D instant energy drink, Nycil talcum powder and Sampriti clarified butter, the people said.

Shares of Kraft Heinz extended gains in New York trading Friday, rising 8.6 percent to $64.48 at the close, the biggest jump in more than five months.

Tata Group is considering doing any potential deal through listed unit Tata Global Beverages Ltd., according to one of the people. Spokesmen for Tata Group, Dabur and Tata Global Beverages declined to comment. Representatives for Kraft Heinz and Cadila didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Any transaction would add to the $11.9 billion of acquisitions targeting the Indian consumer industry this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Kraft Heinz is bringing Complan to market as U.K. pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline Plc weighs selling its stake in its Indian consumer health subsidiary, which owns malted milk brand Horlicks.

The price sought by Kraft Heinz translates into more than 20 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, one of the people said. Some potential bidders have balked at the valuation, due to what they see as lower growth prospects for certain products amid changing consumer tastes in India, the people said.

There’s no certainty the suitors will proceed with binding offers, and Kraft Heinz could decide to keep the business, according to the people.

To contact the reporters on this story: George Smith Alexander in Mumbai at galexander11@bloomberg.net;P R Sanjai in Mumbai at psanjai@bloomberg.net;Vinicy Chan in Hong Kong at vchan91@bloomberg.net

First Published: Aug 04, 2018 16:20 IST