India's Spencer's Retail mulls IPO

December 25
8:53 PM 2013

Chairman Sanjiv Goenka told Bloomberg that India-based supermarket operator Spencer's Retail Ltd is considering an initial public offering when the chain nears its first profit. Goenka's RP Sanjiv Goenka Group, which has businesses that range from power generation to software training, controls privately-held Spencer's. The supermarket operator was established by two Britons in 1863 and now has around 120 stores in the country.

In the interview, Goenka said that the revenue of Spencer's has doubled per square foot of retail space in a span of three years to $22 or INR 1,350 a month. He said that this is around INR 100 less of breaking even.

Private equity was ruled out by Goenka in the interview. He said, "The moment Spencer's turns profitable, we will start the process of demerging or listing. The first seven months of this year, we are at 1,350 rupees a square foot, and this in a depressed market situation. So, we are almost there."

The report said Goenka is looking forward to a 7% increase in sales when the $1.8 trillion economy makes a rebound. He had already closed outlets that were not making money to bolster the key gauge and enable the retailer to compete with Future Retail Ltd and Reliance Retail Ltd, its bigger rivals. The report also quoted JHP Securities Pvt Analyst Abhishek Jain as saying that an IPO will help Spencer's grow in a market that will soon see foreign retailers like Tesco Plc entering it.

In the year ending March, Spencer's posted a loss of INR 2 billion. Jain said the retailer could break even by the end of March 2015. The report quoted him as saying in a phone interview, "A listing or any form of raising money would also mean unlocking value for CESC shareholders, because they have been pumping money into Spencer's for about five years now. Many Indian retailers are either looking for joint ventures, sale of own brands or a stake sale for capital infusion."

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