Banglore-based Karuturi Global, the world's largest producer of cut roses, has acquired 54% stake in Mumbai-based Florista, which has a chain of floral designing boutique stores spread across India, at an undisclosed amount, as a part of its planned Rs 1,600-crore expansion drive.

Following the acquisition, Karuturi Global is also planning to merge its retail operations carried out under the brand name Flower Xpress with Florista, Karuturi said in a BSE statement. Both company spokespersons were not immediately available for comments.

Florista, which specializes in designing exquisite flower arrangements and decorations made from exotic flowers imported from across the world, currently has 15 retail boutique stores in India and also has a strong network to deliver flowers anywhere in the world through its online portal.

Karuturi intends to aggressively grow the retail network in India to over 109 stores in two years. Its revenues from its retail operations, post this acquisition, is expected to improve substantially. It targets to become the largest retailer in the floriculture space in India.

The company ventured into agricultural business recently after acquiring a huge land bank in Africa and built its flower business in Ethiopia and Kenya. Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi, founder & MD, of the company had announced planting close to 100,000 acres in agriculture.

Karuturi Global, a Rs 700-crore firm deriving 95 per cent of its revenues from rose exports, has announced its plan to raise $100 million (Rs 450 crore) through the private equity route to fund its growth plans in both agriculture and horticulture sector, in September this year.

The company has raised Rs 75 crore ($16.1 miilion) from a fund managed by IL&FS Investment Managers Ltd (IIML), India's largest private equity firm for a 6.53% stake and another $24 million through a GDR issue as a part of its gameplan to invest $350 million in its agri and floriculture business.

In a separate development, NRI businessman C Sivasankaran, or Siva, who is known as an ace investor, has acquired a 2.99% stake through open market purchases in Karuturi Global in the past few weeks, according to a Times of India report. Siva is said to have bought the stake in Karuturi Global to supplement his stake buys in other agri-related firms, Ruchi Soya and KS Oils.

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