Business

Britannia, the biscuit-maker, to invest in startups

Britannia, one of India’s oldest companies has been around since 1892 which was a family business back then. The name Britannia and the company were formed in 1918. The initial business in 1892 was started with an investment of just INR 265. That has now become a huge empire and is a century old. The company completed 100 years of existence last year. Though it was formed in 1892, it was officially a company in 1918. Britannia, a food-products company, sells biscuits and other products in India and 60 other countries across the space of earth.

The company has a revenue of about INR 7,500 crore which is about $1 billion. The operating income is about $170 million which is INR 1,201.16 crore. That said, the net income of the company also crosses about $110 million. The numbers are beautiful to look at and it is not a surprise that a company of this stature makes so much money. The fact that it shares 38% of the market share in India play as evidence to those numbers.

That said, the reason behind Britannia’s coming into the news is that it has decided to foray into the market space it is totally alien with. The company is going to invest in the up and coming startups of the company. The amount of money it has, investments in the right businesses might be one of the best moves forward for the company. The returns on these investments require a lot of patience but Britannia, a 100-year-old company needs no introduction to patience.

The aim of the company is mainly to bridge the gap between its bakery and snack industries. Apart from this, innovations which need some acceleration, the premiumization of the portfolio and also expansion in the rural areas are some of the reasons the giant is going to invest in startups. The company, however, is not the first one to invest in technology which is not its interest when it comes to business. Unilever and also Marico have taken the leap of faith.

The company is a novice when it comes to this part of the world. And that is the main reason it is going to set up a separate team for the same. The company is going to have a separate entity that will totally focus on investing in startups across every category and platform possible. The details of the same are being looked at as the company is looking at a number of startups and will start with small investments.

There are many companies that invest in companies through other small entities. However, Britannia has taken a different route and will look to infuse money through its own separate entity. This is where the company is going to be careful and its investments at first are going to be safe. The bold investment will have to wait.

-Unmesh Phule

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