Tesco applies to open Indian supermarkets
Britain's Tesco said Tuesday it has applied to open supermarkets in India, one of the first global retailers to try to enter the tough market since Delhi removed foreign investment barriers last year.
"Today, we're making an application to develop a multi-brand retail business in India," said Trevor Masters, chief executive officer for Tesco's Asia operations, on the company's website.
"If it were successful, it could open the way to Tesco investing directly and forming a partnership from our existing relationship with the Tata Group."
Tesco already supplies about 80 percent of the goods in Tata's 16 Star Bazaar and Star Daily stores in southern and western India, he said.
If the application was successful, the two firms would enter a 50-50 partnership to develop multi-brand retail stores, Tata's retail business Trent Hypermarket Limited said in a release.
"We believe that our understanding of the Indian market coupled with Tesco's unparalleled global retail expertise will allow us to leverage the tremendous potential of the market to the benefit of all stakeholders," Trent said.
New Delhi moved last year to open up the retail sector to foreign companies as part of steps to boost a sharply slowing economy.
Foreign supermarkets can hold stakes of up to 51 percent in multi-brand retailers, but rigid conditions still imposed by the government have held many back from applying.
© 2013 AFP