De Beers eyes Rajesh Exports
ANOTHER big-ticket buyout could be on the cards. A US-based buyout fund and diamond giant De Beers are learnt to be interested in picking up 51% stake in jewellery maker and retailer Rajesh Exports. According to industry sources, while any formal bid is yet to be made, both parties will make separate offers to acquire majority control at a premium to the current market price of the company. The market cap of Rajesh Exports is currently Rs 2,650 crore. The share price of the company went up 12.4% last week to close at Rs 729.50 on BSE on Friday. An acquisition of 51% stake, if it goes through, will also trigger a mandatory open offer for an additional 20% of the company. It remains to be seen whether the promoters, who hold 61.5% in the company, agree to sell. When contacted by ET, Rajesh Exports chairman Rajesh Mehta said: “I have no comments to make on any such offers. I can only say we recently attended an investors’ conference in the US and there is a lot of interest in the company from FIIs.” Despite repeated attempts, De Beers India country head Rajiv Bhandari could not be contacted for comments and an email query sent to him failed to elicit any response. The media contact person for De Beers Diamond Jewellery was unavailable for comments. An industry source said the De Beers move is linked to its interests in jewellery retailing in India. While De Beers is primarily known for its diamond business, Rajesh Exports is predominantly into gold jewellery and is just about entering the diamond space. “The fact is India is more of a gold market and any serious jewellery player cannot expect to be big concentrating only on diamond,” a source said. The Bangalore-based Rajesh Exports shot into limelight in 2004, when its revenues jumped more than 13 times in a single year to close at about Rs 3,000 crore. This was due to the commissioning of its new Bangalore-based manufacturing unit, the world’s largest jewellery-making unit. The market capitalisation of the company too has shot up from just around Rs 43 crore in FY03 to Rs 2,650 crore now. A reason for rising valuations of the company is the forward integration in the jewellery business. Traditionally, the company has been a wholesale gold jewellery maker and exporter, which is a low margin business