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Future perfect for Kishore Biyani after restructuring

Most group stocks witness steep year-to-date appreciation as rally is backed by fundamentals

Hamsini Karthik 

Future retail, Big Bazaar, customers

When sold his flagship business to Aditya Birla Nuvo in 2012, there were questions on where growth would come from. Five years later, and much to the surprise of his critics, Biyani’s Future Group has only resurfaced stronger, leaner and more appealing to investors. And it has carved its businesses into five listed entities.
 
houses the core retail business, while Future Consumer and Future Lifestyle Fashions hold the proprietary brands for fast moving consumer goods (such as Karmiq, Tasty Treat, Kosh and Care Mate) and apparels (Central, Brand Factory, Plant Sports, All, Scullers and Jealous 21), respectively.

 
Logistics infrastructure has been brought under Future Market Networks, while Future Enterprise develops, owns and leases the retail infrastructure for the group. The insurance business (Future Generali) is also a part of Future Enterprise.
 
Future group, stocks
Source: Capitaline
With operations becoming compartmentalised, experts say the value unlocking process will be easier now. “Investors can choose which retail business they want to buy. The return profile is not diluted by businesses that do not make money and hence capital appreciation and value unlocking will be much better,” says Abhijeet Kundu of Antique Stock Broking.
 
Not surprisingly, most Future have witnessed steep year-to-date appreciation (see table). The rally is backed by fundamentals with catching most of the investor fancy. Analysts at Nomura highlight that post the business reorganisation, has aimed to simplify the corporate structure, achieve efficiency and eliminate capital expenditure to create an asset-light model. is among the top retail picks for Nomura and the brokerage expects more upside despite the sharp rally, given its brand equity, possible scale benefits, entry into newer formats and improving return ratios.
 
While enjoys the highest investor confidence for now, analysts say others such as Future Consumer and Future Lifestyle may gain traction soon.
 
“As in-house labels such as Kosh, Care Mate and Scullers gain more acceptance within the chains and outside, their stocks too will enjoy better investor appeal,” says an analyst tracking the sector. Change in business strategy from plain-vanilla sourcing to in-house manufacturing will also help Future Consumer and Future Lifestyle. Even now, their 2016-17 financial performance showed promise.
 
Future group, stocks
Source: Capitaline
However, debt could be an issue at the group level. Despite the sale at Rs 1,600 crore (including debt of Rs 800 crore), overall debt has reduced only by 24 per cent to about Rs 6,860 crore in 2016-17 from over Rs 9,000 crore in 2011-12. Future Enterprise with debt of Rs 5,032 crore in 2016-17 remains an over-leveraged business, accounting for over 70 per cent of the group’s overall debt.
 
The much talked about stake sale in Future Generali is essential to bring some relief on this front. Talks are on to divest stakes in speciality retail businesses such as Planet Sports in a move that can improve the valuations of Future Consumer. However, the street is happy with Biyani’s decision to focus on existing businesses without piling on more debt. Analysts believe this could be rewarding in the next three to five years.

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