Louis Vuitton owner looking to fund Patanjali: Report
New Delhi: LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE (LVMH ), the owner of famous fashion brands including Louis Vuitton, Dior, Fendi, Givenchy, etc has shown interest in investing Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Ayurved, according to a recent report in Economic times.
A confirmation to this effect was made by Ravi Thakran, managing partner, L Catterton Asia to Economic Times who said, "We would love to work with him if we can find a model. However, I know his model is not to work with multinationals and with foreign money."
Louis Vuitton co-owned the L Catterton private equity fund that is ready to bet 500 million dollars, which is close to half of their remaining funds in Asia, to buy stake in the enterprise that has emerged as one of India's biggest fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies with a range of Ayurveda-based products in the past few years.
Patanjali has emerged to be one of the fastest growing FMCG brands by attaching the 'Swadeshi' label on their products managing to exceed their global and local competitors who had already been a part of the market.
This has forced the rival companies Hindustan Unilever, Colgate Palmolive and Dabur to recreate and ramp up their ayurvedic products.
Thakran told the daily, "Patanjali has the potential to go to the world and I can tell you today that Patanjali has been a disruptor in its category, as strong a disruptor as many of the global disruptors are and it has taken Indian-ness and celebrated it with pride."
He also added that L Catterton can help Patanjali go international and expand its markets in US, Japan, China, South Korea and Europe.
Although Patanjali is seeking for funding, the offer from Louis Vuitton may not look possible because Ramdev has always portrayed his brand as anti-multinational.
Patanjali is looking for about Rs 5,000 crore in loans to set up plants in Nagpur, Greater Noida, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Haryana and Rajasthan and for the cultivation of aromatic and herbal plants on 10,100 acres but not seeking to dilute its stakes said the Patanjali CEO Acharaya Balkrishna.
"There are lots of people lined up for stake purchase. I won't say hundred but I have already met dozens of potential investors. We will not give the stake to anyone," Balkrishna told ET, "The world moves with help from one another and if somebody wants to help us then it has to be within the radius of our conditions. We won't accept any money in equity or shares but when the country is using foreign technology for progress and if foreign money comes and gives us on our conditions we will accept."
Saying that Patanjali has a genuine chance to become a global leader Thakran wants to meet Baba Ramdev to tell him this is a case of not just being an Indian leader but a global leader.
"We are getting loans from the banks without any problems. My condition is that if any fund is looking to support us, they should give us loans with interest lower than the banks and in Indian currency," Balkrishnan added.
L Catterton Asia has a corpus of $1.25 billion and the company generally invests in the range of $100-200 million per company but is prepared to bet as much as $500 million on Patanjali.