French catering firm Elior acquires MegaBite, CR Caterers

French catering services provider Elior Group said on Monday it has struck two acquisitions in India as part of its strategy to expand in emerging markets.

Elior fully acquired Bangalore-based MegaBite Food Services and purchased a majority stake in Chennai’s CR Caterers India Pvt Ltd (CRCL), the company said in a statement. It didn’t give financial details of the deals.

VCCircle had first reported in July that the French industrial catering giant, which competes with compatriot Sodexo and Britain’s Compass Group, was looking to acquire CR Caterers. 

In fact, at one point it looked like Compass Group would outbid Elior for CR Caterers but the French firm eventually sealed the deal.

“India is one of the most promising markets with significant growth potential and a very fragmented profile. The combined acquisitions of MegaBite and CRCL will position the Group among the top three contract caterers in the Indian market,” said Philippe Salle, Elior Group chairman and CEO. Expansion into emerging markets is one of the company’s objectives of its 2016-2020 strategic plan, he said.

Elior said its new India unit will now serve 135,000 meals per a day with over 3,500 employees. 

MegaBite is the top player in premium corporate catering in Bangalore. It was founded in 2005 by three ex-hoteliers and employs about 850 people. It operates a central kitchen in Bangalore and provides 28,000 meals each day in Bangalore and 1,800 meals daily in Mumbai. Its customers include Cisco, Microsoft, Google, McKinsey and Shell. 

CRCL is the largest industrial catering company in South India and the fourth-largest catering company in India, according to Elior. It employs 2,650 people and serves over 100,000 meals each day. 

Incorporated in 2010 by C Ramachandran, CRCL serves over 75 clients in three sectors—industry, education and healthcare. Its clients include Daimler, Pfizer, MRF, Vellore Institute of Technology, Larsen & Toubro, Ashok Leyland, Panasonic and Hindustan Motors. The company posted net sales of Rs 109 crore in 2014-15.

Elior’s Salle said food offering is a critical employee value proposition in an increasingly competitive and changing work space. “The awareness is still nascent in India and we believe that we are in the right place at the right time with the right partnerships. Both MegaBite and CRCL are premium top contract catering companies whose values are aligned with those of Elior Group,” he said.

The transactions are likely to close within the next 90 days, subject to customary closing conditions.

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