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Devyani, which runs the franchises for Pizza Hut, KFC and Costa Coffee, apart from a handful of in-house brands, will be the second company from RJ to go public after flagship firm Varun Beverages was listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange in 2016.
While Devyani has been adding outlets for the past year, the IPO is triggered by Jaipuria’s aggressive expansion plans for the business division. From 2018, Devyani’s store count is slated to go up by 250-300 every year. Currently, it operates over 450 stores in 12 states. It will be adding 100 new stores in 2018 under the Pizza Hut, KFC and other brands, and its appetite for capturing the rapidly growing travel and hospitality segment has only fueled the decision, says Jaipuria.
“We have acquired rights for food courts in five airports and is looking to acquire more such rights on highways. To meet the growing requirement for diverse brands in such big food courts, we are exploring new concepts in North Indian, Chinese and Thai cuisines this year. Till now, we are meeting most of the investments from internal accruals, and expanding at that rate will be tough without an IPO,” he said. Refusing to specify a number at the moment, Jaipuria expects the IPO will fetch over Rs 11 billion, the amount RJ Corp raised from Varun Beverages’ initial offer.
After clocking group revenue of over Rs 100 billion, Jaipuria, 63, is now planning to triple RJ Corp’s revenue by 2022 to over Rs 320 billion. And that will require more than an IPO. RJ Corp’s bottling arm, Varun Beverages, has the bottling rights for PepsiCo in the north and east. It has acquired rights for Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Bihar in the last three months. These regions account for close to 300 million consumers, or a fourth of India’s beverages market by population.
Varun Beverages also secured the rights to produce non-carbonated drinks in the Tropicana, Quaker and Lipton Tea brands from PepsiCo’s portfolio. Developments during past the few months have made Varun Beverages the largest PepsiCo bottler outside the US. But Jaipuria is aiming higher. “After these latest additions, we need to consolidate the business. We are open to entering new areas. It is up to PepsiCo now, when and how much of the bottling business they want to divest to us,” he said.
Expanding its business by adding new territories will be crucial to RJ Corp’s future plans. Varun Beverages now accounts for over 40 per cent of the group’s revenue and may account for over half of the group’s revenue in the coming years. RJ Corp may also come up with new offerings in association with PepsiCo.
However, RJ Corp’s plan to foray into the dairy business has remained limited to its ice-cream brand Cream Bell. “We are seriously looking at dairy businesses under Varun Beverages and, hopefully, some progress will be visible this year,” Jaipuria said.
Its plan to expand the J-Mart convenience stores business is also taking longer than estimated. To bring it on track, some changes have been made in its senior management. “The convenience store business will take three to five years to settle down,” Jaipuria said.
Looking beyond existing territories and business segments is another gateway for growth. RJ Corp has secured the master franchise rights for luxury tea retail brand TWG in India and the UK. The Indian market is yet to be explored by any such luxury brand and RJ Corp’s big bet is motivated by opportunities in the UK.