In 1924, Yagnanarayana Maiya founded MTR in Bangalore as Mavalli Tiffin Room. It has restaurant branches across India and even in countries like Singapore and Dubai. MTR is said to have invented the popular South-Indian breakfast item, Rava idli. In 2007, Orkla, a Norwegian consumer conglomerate, acquired MTR. Now functioning as a subsidiary of Orkla, MTR has acquired Eastern Condiments, a Kochi-based Indian spice exporter.
Acquiring Eastern Condiments
Orkla ASA is expanding its reach in the Food and Beverages industry. After MTR, the Norwegian giant has now acquired 68% stakes of Eastern Condiments. This is supposed to initiate a merger of the same with MTR. In a release, Orkla stated that the merger is expected to take 12-15 months. Also, the merged entity will continue under the MTR brand name.
As per the business transaction, the stakes of Eastern Condiments cost Rs 2,000 crore for Orkla. Orkla’s move is said to increase its presence in India’s branded spice market. After the first leg of acquisition, an application to merge Eastern with MTR will be submitted and the merged company will be owned by Orkla ASA itself.
“Orkla, through its wholly-owned subsidiary MTR Foods Private Limited, has signed agreements to purchase a 41.8 percent ownership stake in Eastern from members of the Meeran family and to acquire the entire ownership stake held by McCormick Ingredients SE Asia Pvt. Ltd, which will give Orkla a 67.8 percent ownership stake after completion of the transactions. Eastern is currently owned by the Meeran family (74 percent) and McCormick (26 percent),” Orkla said in a release.
This merger is, however, yet to be approved by the Competition Commission of India.
Market of MTR
MTR is the most dominant in the southern states of India. It is hugely popular in other parts of India as well due to its ready-to-cook range of breakfast foods. The company holds leading positions in its categories for a fact. Owing to the remarkable presence of MTR in the Indian market, Orkla will be able to expand its presence here as well.
Executive Vice President Torkild Nordberg, who is responsible for Orkla’s Branded Consumer Goods business said, “As a result of this acquisition we will be able to assess the Indian market as a possible future growth platform for Orkla’s Branded Consumer Goods business at close quarters. MTR Foods is located in an interesting, growing market. We expect to spend some time learning and assessing the situation before any final decisions are made concerning further strategic investments in India.”
The market of Eastern Condiments
Eastern Condiments was established in 1983 in Kochi, Kerala by M. E. Meeran. Since then, it has grown continuously, and now, it has a fine grip over the Indian spice market. The firm is also said to be India’s number 1 spice exporter. It has been awarded the ‘Largest Spice Exporter Award’ 18 times in a row which speaks for the firm’s success and popularity. And this is the reason why Orkla chose to acquire Eastern Condiments through MTR.
“Orkla is known for its strong, local brands and holds leadership positions across multiple FMCG categories in several markets. Orkla has a solid track record of building leading food brands based on a strong organizational culture and company values. Together with MTR, and as part of Orkla, we will have a stronger platform for our successful operations,” said Navas Meeran.
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