Millennium Post

Williamson Magor seeks strategic ally for Eveready

Kolkata: The B M Khaitan-led Williamson Magor Group has mandated Kotak Mahindra Bank to find a strategic partner for its flagship Eveready Industries India Ltd (EIIL), a dry cell batteries and flashlights major, and is seeking a company valuation of Rs 3,000-4,000 crore, industry sources said Friday.

The group, however has "no plans" to completely exit from the company which had a topline of about Rs 1,450 crore last fiscal, and is expecting revenues of Rs 1,600 crore this year.

"We have mandated Kotak Mahindra for a strategic partner in Eveready for flashlights and battery business," sources close to the development said declining to be identified.

The Williamson Magor Group, however, is yet to decide if it will retain a controlling or a minority stake after Eveready's restructuring, sources said.

It would depend on final negotiations, they added. The Khaitans presently hold 45 per cent stake in the company. Of late, the management of Eveready Industries has been trying to convert itself into an FMCG company by diversifying into new areas such as electrical products, small appliances and lighting by following an "asset-light" model.

The Williamson Magor Group consists of the worlds largest bulk tea producer McLeod Russel, Kilburn Engineering and McNally Bharat.

McLeod Russel has also been divesting many of its tea estates in India.

The Khaitans acquired Eveready brand from Nusli Wadia group for about Rs 300 crore in early 1990s.

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