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Cobra set to pick up 76% in Regal Breweries

NRI millionaire Karan Billimoria’s Cobra Beer is taking 76% stake in Regal Breweries, a joint venture with local partner NV Group promoted by prominent bottler and distributor Ashok Jain. Regal Breweries is coming up with a greenfield brewery at Patiala in Punjab with an initial investment of Rs 70/80 crore.

This will be UK-based Cobra Beer’s first equity investment in India. The Patiala plant will have an initial capacity of 3.5 lakh cases monthly, but could ramp up later. Cobra Beer of Indian origin, a growing brand in UK made popular through the curry restaurants, has banked on contract bottling tie-ups for servicing the local market.

Cobra Beer India COO Poonam Chandel confirmed the move to pick up 76% stake in a JV with Ashok Jain’s NV Group. Mr Jain is a spirits bottler with plants in Maharashtra, Goa and Haryana catering to MNC drinks giants like Diageo and Bacardi. The deal with Cobra marks his foray into beer.

Meanwhile, Cobra is expanding its contract filling network. After starting with Mount Shivalik Group in Rajasthan, it has extended the bottling arrangements to Impala Brewery in Goa, Iceberg in Patna, Manav Breweries in Agra and Mikal in Orissa. Cobra is claiming monthly volume depletion of around 3 lakh cases and is projecting overall sales of over 2.5 million cases in FY08.

Cobra Beer was born in 1997 when Mr Billimoria started exporting beer to UK from the Bangalore-based Mysore Breweries. With the brew gaining in popularity in tandem with the craze for Indian cuisine, Mr Billimoria shifted production to Europe. He brought the brand to India banking on its potential in a growing market.

Recently, Cobra Beer also introduced a higher alcohol carrying strong beer under King Cobra brand. It may be mentioned that India’s booming beer consumption, projected to grow at 15% in the long term, is skewed towards strong beer.

Source: Economic Times

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