ESS Dee Aluminium, one of the leading pharma packaging firms in the domestic packaging sector, is in final round of negotiations with the Vedanta group to buy out the latter’s foils business, India Foils. The London-listed Vedanta Resources had appointed management consultant KPMG to scout for potential suitors for the unit which is currently the largest foils maker in India, supplying high value products to companies in sectors such as pharmaceuticals and consumer goods.
While Vedanta Resources executives declined to comment on the development, it is widely believed that the company is expecting a valuation between Rs 250 crore and Rs 300 crore for the Kolkata-based India Foils, due to its large market share and advanced German technology. India Foils last year posted sales of Rs 237 crore, a growth of 24% over the previous year, due to growing demand from the retail sector.
Aluminium foils are typically used to package products and the demand for it has grown as India has recently seen a sharp rise in retail sales with shopping malls and large supermarkets being built in almost every city and town. Growing consumerism has fuelled the need for packaging, while pharmaceutical companies use aluminium foils to cover tablets and capsules.
But growing difficulties in sustaining foils as part of a larger product portfolio by big capacity aluminium companies such as Hindalco Industries and Vedanta Resources has seen foils businesses becoming a part of smaller, focussed companies.
Globally also large aluminium companies such as Alcan have sold their foils businesses due to similar reasons. When contacted, Ess Dee chairman Sudip Dutta said: “We are scouting for acquisition opportunities in India and abroad. We have identified the companies. We are doing the due diligence. We cannot comment on individual deals.”
Vedanta had bought India Foils from the BM Khaitan group in 2000. The company currently accounts for a fifth of the local foil market, which annually sees sales of about 40,000 tonnes