The AV Birla group has kicked off its retail plans by acquiring Hyderabad-based supermarket chain Trinethra Super Retail and its fast-growing online shopping outfit, Fabmall.
Sources said the Birla group's retail plans could see funding come from unlisted units. Although the financial details of the Birlas' retail business isn't clear, it has been reliably learnt that the group would pump in Rs 5,000-Rs 6,000 crore at least in the initial phase, which could be subsequently ramped up once the business grows.
Birla TMT Holdings, an unlisted company, is likely to part finance the investment, while some debt could also be raised. The Birla group, via Birla TMT, has raised close to $980 million through the sale of about 33% of its equity stake in telecom unit Idea Cellular, to about six private equity firms.
The Indian retail space has recently seen hectic action with Bharti's Sunil Mittal joining hands with US-based world No 1 Wal-Mart. The $300-billion Indian retail sector is attracting foreign retail giants and local majors such as the Reliance group and the Tatas.
The group will also leverage on the retail reach gained through Birla Sun Life Insurance and Idea Cellular, the telecom business which has 11 million users and a 11.5% share of the GSM market. The telecom unit is present in 11 circles and is roping in 0.6m users every month.