- Eveready is the top battery brand, available in India since 1905
- Promoters reportedly plan to sell their 45% stake in the company
- The century-old brand is expected to find interest from both Indian and foreign suitors
Eveready, which has been synonymous with dry cell batteries in India for decades, is up for sale according to areport from Times of India. The company’s founding family, the Khaitans, are looking to sell a big chunk of their 45% stake in the company, the report said.
Eveready has been selling products in India since 1905. It was incorporated as a company in 1934 and continued as a subsidiary of the US-based Union Carbide Corporation for decades. It was 1993 when BM Khaitan and Williamson Magor came together to take control of the company after a bitter battle for control with the Nusli Wadia, who owned Bombay Dyeing.
The Kolkata-based Khaitans’ business empire includes McLeod Russel, Kilburn Engineering, and McNally Bharat, other than Eveready. McLeod Russel is the world’s biggest bulk tea producer.
Eveready, which the Khaitans bought for Rs 300 crore in 1993, had a revenue of ₹ $200 million in financial year ended March 2018. Dry cell batteries alone make for ₹950 crores of the turnover.
The sellers are likely to seek a price that would value Eveready at about $500 million. Investors in India cheered the promoters’ proposal to exit and the stock surged as much as 18% after the report before cooling off.
However, the company is burdened with piling up debt. Shrinking profit margin has not helped the promoter’s cause. A factor that has halved the stock price by half over the last year, and is likely to weigh on the bids from potential suitors.