Markets were on Tuesday rife with news of Titan Industries, the publicly-held retailer of watches, jewellery and eyewear, closing in on acquiring Canada-based luxury watches and jewellery retailer Harry Winston. The deal is estimated at $1 billion.
The management of Titan Industries, however, categorically said it wasn’t looking at any such acquisition. Managing Director Bhaskar Bhat told Business Standard neither he, nor any of his colleagues, had “been contacted by anyone from, or representing, Harry Winston”.
Investment bankers close to Titan Industries said while Titan Industries would be looking at acquisitions, these would be in the range of Rs 500-600 crore. Therefore, it was unlikely that the company would be eyeing a deal worth $1 billion.
The NYSE-listed Harry Winston accounts for two businesses. Through the first, it supplies rough diamonds to the global market from the Diavik Diamond Mine, in which it has 40 per cent stake. The company, however, is internationally known for its second business — where it is a premier diamond jeweller and luxury timepiece retailer, with salons in key locations throughout the world, including New York, Paris, London, Beijing, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Beverly Hills.
In the past, too, Titan Industries had tried to gain access to US and European markets for its jewellery (Tanishq) and watches business. However, it had pulled back, owing to intense competition in those markets. The company had also tried to tap the Indian diaspora in the United States with the Tanishq brand. But then, too, it had to pull out, owing to the recession in 2008-09. Titan Industries had also made an ambitious foray into to Europe, but had to write off its investments there, due to severe losses.
Early this year, Titan Industries had acquired European heritage luxury watch brand Favre Leuba for about Rs 6 crore. Titan Industries is present across various other countries, through 1,700 dealerships in Africa, West Asia, Southeast Asia. Last year, it had recorded a net profit of Rs 600 crore and revenue of about Rs 9,700 crore.
On Tuesday, Titan Industries shares closed at Rs 228.05 a share on the National Stock Exchange, a rise of 0.2 per cent. Going by this, the company’s market capitalisation stands at about Rs 20,000 crore.