Reliance Consumer Products Ltd (RCPL), the fast-moving consumer goods arm of Reliance Industries, on Friday acquired a 51% stake in Lotus Chocolate Company for ₹74 crore. The Mukesh Ambani-led conglomerate will also make an open offer to acquire another 26% stake in the chocolate maker.

RCPL, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Retail Ventures, will acquire 65.48 lakh equity shares of Lotus from its current promoters at a price of ₹113 per share, according to RIL's stock exchange filing.

The FMCG arm of Reliance will also make an announcement to the public shareholders of Lotus to acquire up to 33,38,673 equity shares, representing 26% of the equity share capital in accordance with the SEBI takeover regulations.

Reacting to the development, shares of Lotus Chocolate Company jumped 5% in the intraday trade to ₹122.95 apiece on the BSE. Meanwhile, the RIL stock rose as much as 1% to ₹2,564 on the BSE.

The capital infused by RCPL will help drive the growth and expansion of Lotus into a comprehensive confectionery, cocoa, chocolate derivatives and related products manufacturer across industrial and consumer market spectrum.

"Reliance is excited to partner with LOTUS who have created a strong cocoa & chocolate derivatives business through sharp business acumen and perseverance. The investment in LOTUS underlines our commitment to further boost indigenously developed daily use high quality products, to serve a broad customer spectrum at affordable prices. We look forward to working with the highly experienced management team of LOTUS as we further expand the business and drive its next growth phase," says Isha Ambani, executive director of Reliance Retail Ventures.

Lotus Chocolate Company and Prakash P Pai, Ananth P Pai and other members of the current promoter group of Lotus executed definitive agreements with Reliance Consumer Products. As part of the deal, RCPL and certain promoter group entities of Lotus will subscribe to 5,07,93,200 non-cumulative redeemable preference shares of face value of ₹10 each.

"We have a vision to build a world class confectionery products business across customer segments backed by best-in-class manufacturing capabilities and talent. Our strategic partnership with Reliance, through this investment, will further enable this vision and accelerate Lotus' transformation," says Abhijit Pai, founder-promoter of Lotus.

India's largest company by market value forayed into FMCG business earlier this month. Reliance Consumer Products launched the FMCG brand 'Independence' for staples, processed foods, beverages and other daily essentials in Gujarat. The brand will be rolled out across India in a few months.

Last week, RCPL parent Reliance Retail Ventures acquired a 100% stake in METRO Cash & Carry India, a wholly owned subsidiary of German wholesaler METRO AG, for ₹2,850 crore.

Reliance has been on a acquisition spree. In September, the company acquired the homegrown soft drink brand Campa from Delhi-based Pure Drinks Group for around ₹22 crore. Campa Cola was a market leader in the Indian soft drink market in the 1970s and 1980s until foreign brands Pepsi and Coca-Cola entered the domestic market in 1990s. RIL also acquired another soft drink brand Sosyo from Surat-based Hajoori.

Over the last three years, Reliance Retail has acquired brands like Hamleys, Just Dial, Milkbasket, Zivame, Clovia, Portico, Netmeds, and Urban Ladder among others. It has also partnered with 7-Eleven, the iconic global retail chain, to start its operations in India.

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