Future Group to buy minority stake in footwear company Tresmode

The Kishore Biyani-promoted Future Group will increase its presence in the retail business by acquiring a significant minority stake in Mumbai-based footwear retail company Tresmode, soon after exiting its non-core businesses. Future Ventures, the group company which invests in emerging businesses, is in advanced talks to buy 25% stake in Tresmode, valuing the footwear retailer at 180 crore, said two persons with direct knowledge of the transaction.

"A formal announcement is expected shortly," said one of the persons quoted above. Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani and Tresmode promoter Kapil Mahtani declined to comment.

The deal, if successful, will put Tresmode among a raft of lifestyle companies in which Future Group holds a stake. The retail major provided capital to fuel growth in emerging companies, including ethnic wear retailer Biba, fashion retailer Anita Dnogre's company AND as it seeks to nurture emerging players in the lifestyle retail sector.

Tresmode, started in 2007 with the first flagship store in Mumbai, plans to expand its retail presence as footwear market in India is growing at the rate of 13% per annum, according to footwear industry officials. The company has set up retail outlets in metros and overseas destinations like Kathmandu.

The domestic footwear market in India is worth 25,000 crore with organised retail accounting for close to 35% of the total share. Venture Capital and private equity funds have been showing interest in acquiring stakes in footwear majors. ET had recently reported that India Value Fund was in talks to buy out 26% stake in women's footwear brand Catwalk Worldwide for 100 crore.

The acquisition of Tresmode will help the group get its focus back on its core retail business after divesting a string of non-core assets. Its non-banking finance company Future CapitalBSE -1.32 % was recently sold to private equity major Warburg Pincus, helping to cut total debts from 7,500 crore to 2,300 crore.

Kishore Biyani had recently said that the group's businesses would be divided into three different listed entities. While Future Retail will house hypermarket and supermarket businesses such as Big Bazaar and Food Bazaar, brand and lifestyle businesses such as Central and Brand Factory will converge under Future Fashion.

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