Future Group to sell stake in supply chain, stationery joint ventures

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Inside an IKEA store in Stockholm, Sweden
Inside an IKEA store in Stockholm, Sweden

After announcing a stake sale in Pantaloon and Future Capital, Kishore Biyani-led Future Group is readying itself for more sell-off, including Future Supply Chain and Staples Future Office Products.

The group, laden with an estimated consolidated debt of Rs 6,000 crore, is also mulling a stake sale in Future Generali Insurance, a joint venture with Italian insurer Generali Group, according to people close to the development.

When contacted, Pantaloon Retail joint managing director Rakesh Biyani said: "We are looking at opportunities to raise money by selling stakes in non-core retail businesses."

He did not provide any timeline or specific details of the proposed transactions.

Sources, however, said the group was holding discussions with interested parties to sell off ownership in Future Supply Chain (FSC) and Staples Future Office Products.

The group may hive off part of its 70 per cent stake in FSC, a supply management firm. The remaining 30 per cent is held by Hong Kong-based Li & Fung, which is also interested in increasing its stake in the company, a source said, adding an announcement on Future Supply Chain is expected by July-end.

Similarly, Future Group is also looking to dilute holding in Staples Future Office Products (SFOP), a joint venture between the company and Staples Asia Investment (a unit of Staples, US).

A deal is likely to be sealed in the next couple of months, the source said.

The group's retail holding firm Pantaloon Retail India holds 39.5 per cent stake in SFOP.

Commenting on stake dilution in the insurance company Biyani said: "It is a process, it is part of our non-retail assets and definitely that is one of the options available to us to see if we can find a partner to buy that asset also. However, it is subject to regulatory approvals."

In April, Future Group gave away majority control of Pantaloon, the department store chain to Kumar Mangalam Birla's Aditya Birla Nuvo for a total consideration of Rs 1,600 crore.

The group also sold majority stake in Future Capital Holdings to private equity firm Warburg Pincus for Rs 560 crore earlier this month.
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