Qatari firm buys 51% stake in Bush Foods

Qatari firm buys 51% stake in Bush Foods
Highlights

Mumbai: An arm of the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar on Wednesday announced the acquisition of a 51 per cent...

ric2Mumbai: An arm of the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar on Wednesday announced the acquisition of a 51 per cent majority stake for $100 million in leading Indian basmati rice exporter Bush Foods Overseas Pvt Ltd. The acquisition by the energy-rich state's sovereign wealth fund is a reflection of growing global interest in India's agri-business sector. International private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) funds have been investing huge sums in Indian companies in recent months.

According to analysts tracking the sector, last year saw PE and VC funds invest nearly $350 million in India's agri-business sector. Wednesday's announcement by the Qatari fund is one of the largest investments in the Indian agri-business sector.

Hassad Food, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qatar Holding, which is one of the operating arms of the Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund of the Gulf state, acquired majority stake in Bush Foods to position itself as a major provider in the global basmati rice domain.

Bush Foods was founded in 1992 and has turnover in excess of $235 million. The company specialises in premium basmati rice and has diversified into value added processed foods such as RTE (Ready to Eat), spices and other ethnic range, which are available in 60 countries worldwide. Its flagship brands include Neesa, Himalayan Crown and Indian Star.

"We are very excited about this acquisition which is a strong testament that Hassad Food is on the right track towards achieving its vision in becoming a leading global provider of high quality food products," said Nasser Al Hajri, chairman, Hassad Food. "Our mission is to own and develop efficient, profitable, growth-oriented global brands."

"We are very happy with the deal," said Vikaran Awasty, managing director, Bush Foods. "I am confident that Hassad Food is the ideal long term majority partner that can take the company to an even higher level."

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