INDIA – The fast-moving consumer goods arm of Reliance Industries Ltd, Reliance Consumer Products Ltd (RCPL), seeks “to enhance its beverage portfolio” with the acquisition of a 50 percent stake in Gujarat-based carbonated soft drinks (CSD) and juices maker Sosyo Hajoori Beverages Pvt Ltd (SHBPL).

Reliance Retail Venture Ltd (RRVL) said in a statement that the company’s promoters of the 100-year-old beverage maker, the Hajoori family, including Abbas Hajoori and his son Aliasgar, will continue to hold the remaining stake.

Established in 1923 by Abbas Abdulrahim Hajoori, SHBPL is one of the leading players based out of Gujarat and operates its beverage business under the flagship brand ‘Sosyo’.

Sosyo Hajoori owns several brands, including Kashmira, Lemee, S’eau, Ginlim, Runner, Opener and Hajoori Soda.

SHBPL has a manufacturing plant in Gujarat. It has distribution spread across Gujarat and neighboring states through its franchises and distributor network. It also caters to overseas markets through its exports to the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and others.

Along with strengthening RCPL’s beverages portfolio, RRVL said the acquisition will the company to leverage Sosyo’s expertise in formulations to create unique value propositions for our product portfolio and consumers.

“This investment helps take forward our vision of empowering local heritage brands and presenting new growth opportunities. We welcome the desi power of century-old Sosyo’s heritage beverage brand to our consumer brand portfolio and are confident that our knowhow, consumer insights, and retail distribution strengths will help accelerate the growth momentum of Sosyo,” Isha Ambani, executive director, of Reliance Retail Ventures, said.

Commenting on the acquisition news, Hajoori said combining both companies’ strengths will make the unique-tasting beverage products of Sosyo accessible to all Indian consumers.

The announcement follows Reliance Consumer’s decision to pick up a controlling stake in Lotus Chocolate Co. Ltd.

The company is creating a dedicated retail distribution network for its fast-expanding consumer brands portfolio, which includes packaged consumer products brand Independence.

In September last year, RCPL acquired the home-grown soft drink brand Campa from Delhi-based Pure Drinks Group, affirming its existence in the FMCG sector.

Campa drink, which was bottled by Jallan Food products, has dominated the Indian market for about 15 years in the absence of foreign competition after the likes of Coca-Cola were asked to leave in 1977.

During the acquisition announcement, the company said it was undertaking an expansion drive in the FMCG segment, having already started talks with several makers, which would be announced subsequently once the deals are finalized.

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