Britannia to invest US$58.2m by next year for capacity and product development

INDIA – Britannia Industries, India’s second-largest listed packaged food company plans to invest between US$58mn to US$72.81 million by next year for expansion of capacity and new product development.

ET Retail has reported part of the investment including US$43.70m will be used to set up a dairy plant whose site may be relocated from Maharashtra to Andhra Pradesh.

Britannia Industries chairman Nusli N. Wadia said the relocation remains in waiting pending Maharashtra government’s report on the incentives for the dairy project.

He said that the company will not enter fresh milk but filled croissants space towards end of the year, in addition to expansion of its cake and rusk portfolio.

Britannia has commenced milk procurement pilot in Maharashtra to strengthen dairy back-end capabilities and will set up cold chains across the country.

According to ET Retail, Britannia is the market leader in biscuits by value with around one-third share of the Indian market.

Wadia said the company wants to expand presence in overseas markets and has set up a dedicated export unit in special economic zone at Mundra meant to increase foreign exchange earnings.

Nusli Wadia also hinted he may exit Britannia board which comprises of MD Varun Berry, and three promoter directors.

Britannia’s board of directors at a meeting in May recommended the continuation of Nusli Wadia as director who would turn 75 in February 2019 and promoter non-executive director Hirjee who has turned attained the age of 75 years.

Britannia in its latest annual report said non-executive independent director SS Kelkar, who attained the age of 75, has expressed the desire to step down from the board during 2018-19.

Separately, the company also took shareholder approval to extend the MD’s tenure for another five years from April 2019 to March 2024.

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