Another leading ice cream brand from Ahmedabad seems set to be acquired by a foreign company, with the news breaking that Bain Capital is in talks with Vadilal for the takeover of Vadilal Industries and Vadilal Enterprises. Five years ago, the Ahmedabad based Havmor ice cream brand was taken over by Lotte Confectionary of South Korea for Rs 1,020 crore.
While VO! received no response to our queries from Rajesh Gandhi, chairman of Vadilal Enterprises and Managing Director of Vadilal Industries, the Vadilal Group has issued a statement to the stock exchanges. The statement does not confirm or deny that the group is in talks with Bain, but says: “Vadilal industries regularly evaluates various opportunities for restructuring, investments or divestments in the course of its business…As on date, no event or announcement has occurred which mandates a disclosure.”
With two listed companies in its fold, the Vadilal Group is careful to follow the norms set by the stock markets and maintains an informative website. Though it is a family run company, with brothers Rajesh and Devanshu Gandhi at the helm, Vadilal Enterprises has implemented the model governance code of separating the post of chairman and managing director. Its chairman is advocate Vijay R Shah. This is the major difference between Vadilal and Havmor ice cream, which was an unlisted entity at the time of its takeover.
But there are major similarities. Like Havmor before its acquisition, the Vadilal Group has been expanding into restaurants in a big way. After its long established Happinezz ice cream parlours, the group has recently launched a café chain named Vadilal Now Forever (like Havmor’s Hocco) and a dessert café named Melt It (like Havmor’s Huber & Holly). The Chona family, which owned Havmor, retained the restaurant business while selling the ice cream brand to Lotto in 2017.
Vadilal Industries registered a turnover of Rs 553 crore and a net profit of Rs 41 crore for the financial year 2021-22. Vadilal Enterprises, the group’s marketing and distribution company, registered a turnover of Rs 574 crore and net profit of Rs 2.91 crore for the same period. Though the results for 2022-23 are not yet announced, both companies are expected to register high growth, post-Covid. Speaking at the launch of the Vadilal’s summer advertising campaign in April, brand head Aastha Gandhi had said that the company expects to cross Rs 1,000 crore turnover mark for the year ending 31 March 2023.
After the news of the possible acquisition broke today, Vadilal Enterprises shares have climbed by 4%, while Vadilal Industries shares have fallen by 4%.
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