Indian food major Patak's sold for £100 mn

Updated on May 31, 2007 10:24 AM IST
The Indian food empire has been sold to food and clothing retailer Associated British Foods for an estimated £100 million.
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IANS | By, London

Patak's, the multi-million pound Indian food empire that has been riddled by conflict within the owning Pathak family, has been sold to food and clothing retailer Associated British Foods (ABF) for an estimated £100 million.

Kirit Pathak, whose father Laxmishankar arrived in London from Kenya in 1956 with just five pounds in his pocket, will stay on as chairman to oversee Patak's and ABF's Blue Dragon oriental brands. His wife, Meena, who is often seen as the driving force of the business, will become a director at the company.

ABF has not disclosed the financial details of the sale but analysts and reports put the figure at around £100 million.

After arriving in Britain from Kenya, Laxmishanker set up Patak's in the family's north London home, dropping the 'h' from the name to make it easier to pronounce. One of his first clients was the Indian High Commission in London.

Industry experts say that the company based in Wigan, Lancashire, has grown into a curry empire with annual sales of around 70 million. It makes 30 million jars of curry sauce and 1.5 million ready meals a year and supplies 6,000 restaurants, cash and carries and supermarkets.

Kirit Pathak said on Tuesday, "This partnership will reinforce the leadership position of the Patak's brand in Indian food worldwide."

The Pathak family had hit the headlines due to a family feud over ownership of the company. Kirit Pathak emerged as 100 per cent owner of the business last year following a lengthy court battle with his two sisters.

The sisters, Chitralekha Mehta and Anila Shastri, claimed they had missed out on shares in the firm left to them by their late father. The case provoked controversy after they ran up a huge legal aid bill, but they later settled out of court for a reported eight million pounds.

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