INDIA – Packaged water giant in India, Bisleri International Pvt, has announced the withdrawal of its intentions of divesting its business to Tata Group or any potential suitors.

The packaged beverages business has been growing in high double digits and sales have peaked on the back of early summer and a surge in out-of-home demand.

The company has also made a new appointment of Jayanti Chauhan to steer the business, assisted by the professional management team headed by chief executive Angelo George, said people with knowledge of the matter.

“Jayanti will run the company with our professional team and we do not want to sell the business,” Bisleri chairman Ramesh Chauhan said.

Jayanti has over the years been involved periodically with the business. Before this appointment, she has been the vice chairperson at the company promoted and built by her father. In recent years, she’s been engaged with growing the Vedika brand, part of the Bisleri portfolio.

Analysts in India argue that promoters could change their minds in the future. “Let us wait and watch,” one of them said, adding, “We are sure that interested buyers will continue to wait for an opportunity to buy the brand.”

The move is just a few hours after Tata Group officially pulled itself out of talks for the takeover of India’s largest bottled water makers, Bisleri International Pvt attributing it to “indecisiveness,” people familiar with the situation told ET Retail.

“The company wishes to update that it has now ceased negotiations with Bisleri concerning a potential transaction and to confirm that the company has not entered into any definitive agreement or binding commitment on this matter,” Tata Consumer Products said in a stock exchange filing.

The talks have been on a roundtable for around two years. In November, Bisleri’s chairman Chauhan said he opted for Tata Consumer Products Ltd as they would “nurture and take care of it even better.”

This particular acquisition would have expanded the portfolio of Tata Consumer Products’ water brands in India. Currently, Tata Consumer Products owns the Himalayan Natural Mineral Water and Tata Water Plus brands.

Since the bottled water market is a symbol of a new lifestyle and health-consciousness rising in India, the divestment of the water company has also attracted interest from Reliance Industries, Danone, and Nestle.

The bottled water market in India, valued at US$2,970.61 million in 2021, is projected to reach US$8923.84 Million by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 13% during the forecast period (2022-2029).

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