Marks and Spencer Group Plc (M&S) has said it will be entering into a joint venture with Reliance Retail, with the aim of establishing M&S as a major retail brand in India.
M&S said that the venture was subject to the satisfaction or waiver of certain conditions, including the receipt of approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board of the Government of India.
M&S said that it would take an interest of 51 per cent in Marks and Spencer Reliance India Pvt Ltd, while Reliance Retail would take the remaining 49 per cent.
Up to £29 million in cash or in kind will be the initial investment into the venture, both parties have also pledged to provide further funding in the future.
The aim of the venture is to open 50 new stores in India in the next five years, and represents part of M&S's plan to grow its international business to 15-20 per cent of group revenue in the next five years.
Sir Stuart Rose, chief executive of M&S, said, India is a very exciting opportunity for Marks & Spencer and a market where there is the potential for M&S to become a major retail brand.
Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, parent of Reliance Retail, said, M&S is a very well respected brand globally. At Reliance, we have always strongly believed in the power of the Indian consumer market. We are excited to partner with M&S to combine Reliance's understanding of the Indian marketplace, and its traditional strengths in the areas such as technology, infrastructure, logistics and training with M&S's legendary retailing and product development capabilities to deliver a delightful experience for Indian consumers.
Carl Leaver, director of international business at M&S, said, There is already a strong demand for great quality, good value Marks & Spencer products in India. Partnering with Reliance Retail will enable us to accelerate our growth in this dynamic economy.
Mark Ashman will be the chief executive officer and Jatin Luthra has been appointed chief financial officer of Marks and Spencer Reliance India Pvt Ltd.