Reliance Industries buys into fashion designer Raghavendra Rathore’s firm
Mukesh Ambani | Photo Credit: Reuters

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd has purchased a 12.5% stake in a company set up by fashion designer Raghavendra Rathore.

Reliance Industries, through unit Reliance Brands Ltd, bought the stake in Future101 Design Pvt. Ltd for Rs 9.5 crore ($1.4 million), the energy-to-retail conglomerate said in a stock-exchange filing.

Future101, incorporated in July 2013, makes and sells luxury apparel in India. It belongs to a similar industry as Reliance Brands. "We expect growth in this sector and value creation from this investment," Reliance said.

Future101 reported annual turnover of Rs 22.18 crore for 2017-18, up from Rs 20.85 crore for 2016-17 and and Rs 17.11 crore the year before.

This is the second strategic investment by Reliance Brands within a month. In June, Reliance Brands had acquired Rhea Retail Pvt. Ltd, which sells products for children and expectant mothers, for Rs 203.46 crore ($30 million) in cash.

Reliance Brands is the brand licensing arm of Reliance Industries’ retail unit, Reliance Retail Ltd, the country’s biggest brick-and-mortar retailer.

Reliance Brands has a portfolio of over 40 international brands that span across the luxury, bridge-to-luxury, high-premium and high-street lifestyle segments. These brands include Gas, Diesel, Marks & Spencer and Steve Madden.

Last year, Reliance Brands acquired a 46.6% stake in Genesis Luxury Fashion Pvt. Ltd, which operates brands such as Armani, Canali and Michael Kors.

Reliance Brands posted a net loss of Rs 4.85 crore on revenue of almost Rs 318 crore for 2017-18, according to the annual report of Reliance Industries.

Apart from fashion and lifestyle, Reliance Retail operates in grocery, consumer electronics and fuel retail segments.

The company operated 7,573 retail stores in more than 4,400 cities across India as of 31 March 2018. It also operated 495 fuel retail outlets, according to the annual report. Besides, it runs e-commerce venture Ajio.com.

Reliance Retail has expanded over the past five years with its revenue growing at a compound annual rate of 45%. Its revenue for 2017-18 doubled to Rs 69,198 crore while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation more than doubled to Rs 2,529 crore.

According to the annual report, Reliance Retail has become the first retailer in India to cross the $10 billion revenue milestone and enter the list of the world’s top 200 retail chains.

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