NEW DELHI: The war for footfalls is now being fought outside the big retail stores. Subshiksha chief R Subramanian has dismissed speculation that he is looking to sell out and has alleged that competition and vested interests are behind all these ‘baseless rumours’. Speaking exclusively to ET.com, Subramanian said, “There is a pattern in which people who are envious of our success are trying to sabotage our expansion plans. It had happened in 2006 when we had planned national expansion and it is happening in 2008 also ever since we made some large announcements. Premji buying a stake in us obviously did not go down well with them." Subramanian said that some with ill intentions are behind the 'rumours' that he is looking at the exit route. For all practical purposes, Mr. Subramanian seems to have his guns trained on Reliance Retail. When asked who could be behind this, Subramanian refused to take names but had his own take on the state of affairs in Reliance Retail. "They are not in the best of health themselves. They are having trouble in managing their own people. Reports have come that Reliance is going for a big austerity drive to cut costs, and they have also been cutting down on employee friendly measures” he said. “They are in no position to take us over”, he asserted when he was asked whether Reliance had its eyes set on them. The Subhiksha promoter also drew attention to the fact that the FDA trouble that they are having in Maharashtra is a matter that goes back to July 2007 and has nothing to do with what is happening in the markets today. It has resurfaced all of a sudden, just a month after the company had announced its plans to expand consumer durable business and go for listing in July this year.
"There are some people who have some dissent against us (and) are envious of the fact that we have become the largest cash and carry retailer in India and are emerging as the number one mobile retailer. They want to run us down this way sincethey can’t beat us in performance" he said. Ever since Wipro chairman Azim Premji acquired 10% stake in Subhiskha for Rs 230 crore from one of its investors ICICI Venture, news circles have been abuzz with the speculation that the retailer may eventually sell itself out. When asked why Premji planned to buy a stake in the retailer at such a hefty premium, Mr Subramanian's reply was that the Wipro chairman is not a naïve person and he has professionals taking care of his money and if he is paying good money then definitely the price is merited. Now that Premji has bought a stake in us many other investors would take confidence is us and would not hesitate to buy our shares once we list ourselves in next two months in the name of Subhiksha India limited. Subhiksha is, in-fact, looking at acquiring some companies which have entered the retail bandwagon but have not been able bear the pressure, in the next two years or so. He also went to the extent saying that some big retailers also may fall prey to Subhiksha. Subhiskha, which has plans to open 2000 stores by the end of the year across the country, however insisted it is takeover proof, "Ultimately the business that runs well would not be gobbled. In fact, as the largest food grocery and mobile phone retailer, we should be taking over others and not the other way around. If we run the business well, we will be takeover proof", said Mohit Khattar, President (Marketing), Subhiksha.
7 months ago