Standard Chartered backs bottler

The UK Bank's private equity unit has made its third deal in India in as many weeks with a $56m investment in Varun Beverages International, PepsiCo's biggest bottler in South Asia.

Standard Chartered Private Equity (SCPE) has made yet another Asian deal this month by investing INR2.5 billion (€40 million; $56 million) for a 5 percent stake in India’s Varun Beverages International (VBIL), an industry source told PE Asia.

VBIL is PepsiCo's biggest bottler in South Asia and Morocco. The funds would be used to expand the company’s beverages business in India and overseas.

“To convert the huge opportunity of growth, penetration and enhanced territories domestically and internationally into reality, we need to build, year after year, large capacities, involving huge capital expenditure.  Induction of SCPE in group's core business of beverage shall help grow this business faster,” Ravi K Jaipuria, chairman of VBIL, said in a statement.

VBIL is owned by the RJ Corp Group which has business interests ranging from beverages, fast food restaurants, ice creams and dairy products, breweries, education, health care and hospitality.

RJ Corp is no stranger to PE investments, having only in May received the reported sum of INR2 billion (then €39.1 million; $55.7 million) for a 10 percent stake in Devyani International, the subsidiary which holds licenses to the KFC, Pizza Hut and Costa Coffee chains in India.

SCPE has been exceedingly active as of late. In the beginning of the month, the private equity unit of the UK bank announced it had acquired 49 percent of Korean crane maker Doosan Industrial for an undisclosed sum. It followed that up several days later with a $98 million investment in IT-related company Redington India. Less than a week after the Redington deal was made public, the firm, together with Build India Capital Advisors and funds managed by Indian financial services group JM Financial, invested $131 Million in GMR Airports for an undisclosed stake.