Posts Tagged ‘Walmart’
Despite Wal-Mart’s pronouncements that it is not interested in take over of local Companies it track record shows otherwise.
‘Although Walmart International has completed three acquisitions during the past 12 months, it is actually the least preferred method of growth, according to international division CFO Cathy Smith. Just imagine if acquisitions were the top priority….(retailing to day)’
The US retailing giant is in talks to buy an 80% stake in Turkey’s Migros Ticaret from British private equity group BC Partners, the Financial Times has reported (paywall). Walmart spokesman Kevin Gardner, in an email to Quartz, said the company would not comment on “rumors and speculation.”
Why would Walmart even be considering such a move?
International acquisitions have been a core part of Walmart’s strategy, despite the company’s recent efforts to act disinterested in overseas purchases. In March, Walmart’s international division chief financial officer Cathy Smith called acquisitions the company’s last priority for international growth. That same month, the company finalized its purchase of South Africa’s Massmart for $2.4 billion. As of Nov. 30, Walmart had 5,964 international units in Central and South America, Africa, and East Asia.
Turkey might be a well-placed market for Walmart and Migros a potentially promising deal. (Mi is French for “mid-way” and gros means “wholesale.”) If the acquisition goes through, Wal-Mart will own the 888 Migros stores throughout Turkey; the Turkish retailer also operates stores in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Macedonia, part of the globe the world’s largest retailer has yet to penetrate.
If China can Best Wal-Mart ,why Not India?
For instance 70% of Tamil Nadu Provision Stores are controlled by the Nadar Community,who form 20 % of the population.
I am sure the Statistics will be similar in the North.
Come on, let’s give Wal-mart a run for its money.
From Shanghai to Chengdu, the outlets run by China’s largest big-box retailer, Sun Art Retail Group Ltd. (6808), are recreating American-style Wal-Marts, with one big difference: They’re giving them the feel of local street markets with hairy crabs laid on table tops and discounted hot-pot ingredients. That formula has helped it crack the country’s 507 billion yuan ($81 billion) hypermarket industry overseas rivals Tesco Plc. (TSCO), Wal-Mart and Carrefour SA (CA) have struggled to get a handle on.
Sun Art succeeded in outdoing Western rivals through more localized management, sharper knowledge of the Chinese consumer, tailoring shopping experiences and offering discounts on regional specialties, said George Ren, a Shanghai-based analyst at industry consultant Roland Berger.
“Foreign retailers have yet to understand local consumer preferences and create the image they are perfect for them, while Sun Art has,” said Ren.
Would any one spend money without any reward?
And from whom this money is to be recovered?
The consumers, obviously.
The amount 208 millions is the money spent in the US just for lobbying.
‘Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, has suspended a “few associates” at its joint venture in India amid an ongoing probe into bribery allegations.
Wal-Mart did not provide further details.
According to lobbying disclosure reports filed by Wal-Mart with the US Senate, the company has spent close to $25 million (about Rs 125 crore) since 2008 on its various lobbying activities, including on the issues related to “enhanced market access for investment in India”.
In the last quarter ended September 30, 2012 itself, the company spent $1.65 million (about Rs 10 crore) on various lobbying issues, which included “discussions related to FDI in India”.
“The RBI has informed that matters related to Bharti Wal-Mart/Cedar Support Services Ltd and Flipkart Online Services, respectively, have been referred to the Directorate of Enforcement for further investigations,” Sharma said.
He said violation of FDI regulations is covered by the penal provision of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999. Flipkart is under the scanner for allegedly flouting FDI rules which allow e-commerce companies with foreign investment to carry out only business-to-business (B2B) transactions but not business to consumer (B2C) transactions by creating complex structures that may not be permissible.
E-commerce companies with foreign investments are allowed to do wholesale trading with B2C companies that are unrelated and can do wholesale trading with a group company only if it does not exceed 25 per cent of its total turnover and is used for internal consumption. IBN Live
It is constructing Storage Facilities in Tambaram,Thiumazhsai and Vanagaram, suburbs of Chennai,Tamil Nadu and Wal-Mart has a full-fledged Marketing Office in Anna Nagar,Chennai.
Tamil Magazine Kumudam reported last week this fact.
Subsequently the construction workers are reported to have been threatened and warned against disclosing the details of the ownership of the Constructions.
Not only this, Wal-Mart has issued Identity cards to Retail dealers in Chennai and have gone ahead in marketing their Chain even to barber shops.( Kumudam Reporter Dated 12/12/2012)
On publication of this report the Company is to cajoled, threatened the card holders.
Hindu Makkal Katchi has filed a Police complaint and the investigations are on.
Source:Kumudam Reporter Dated 12/12/2012
Please also read my Blog;
On the joyous occasion of The Indian Government winning the vote in Parliament on FDIin Retail Trade, I have great pleasure in informing my readers how Wal-Mart broke the Law even before entering Indian Market.
Story by Reuters:
Wal-Mart’s Indian joint venture has suspended several senior executives and delayed the opening of some stores in the country as part of an internal bribery investigation, the company said on Friday.
It is the latest in a series of setbacks for the retail giant’s international operations and comes at a particularly sensitive time here because Indian policy makers recently allowed foreign retailers like Wal-Mart to open stores in the country. The investigation seems to have emboldened opposition lawmakers in New Delhi who are trying to overturn the government’s decision on foreign retailers.
The Economic Times was a good venue in India to break this story. In a classic sentence, they painted with a very light brush the problem of corrupt business practices in India:
As companies in India, like in Mexico, are susceptible to pay bribes at various levels to get reams of licenses required to start and operate businesses, Walmart wants to make sure they do business with only those vendors who don’t indulge in such activities.
Reading this you would think that somehow Walmart was a simple bystander in the bribery business both in India and Mexico, as opposed to having paid over $20 million USD in bribes to get its way in Mexico, and an unknown amount in India. The Economic Times and reporter Rasul Bailay are being disingenuous here. When they say “companies in India…are susceptible to pay bribes…to get licenses…to start and operate businesses…” they have to know that this is likely what Bharti Walmart itself was doing and not simply suppliers. Furthermore, If the suppliers were paying bribes to advance their businesses, the bribes would be finding their way into the pockets of Bharti Walmart buyers and executives….
On the joyous occasion of The Indian Government winning the vote in Parliament on FDI in Retail Trade, I have great pleasure in informing my readers how Wal-Mart broke the Law even before entering Indian Market.
The exclusive story by Reuters explains how Wal-Mart surreptitiously entered India and how it lobbied.
Story by Reuters:
The company, called Cedar Support Services, might have been a more obvious selection four months earlier: it began its corporate life as Bharti Retail Holdings Ltd, according to documents filed with India’s Registrar of Companies.
The Cedar investment is now the focus of an investigation by India’s financial crimes watchdog into whether Wal-Mart broke foreign direct investment rules by putting money into a retailer before the government threw open the sector to global players.
Wal-Mart said it was in compliance with India’s FDI guidelines, and had followed all procedures. It said the central government had sought “information and clarification”, which Wal-Mart has provided.
However, several lawyers said the transaction appeared to violate at least the spirit of India’s long-standing ban on foreign investment in supermarkets, which it only lifted in September 2012. When Wal-Mart made the investment in 2010, it was legal for foreigners to own consultants but not retailers, so the shift in Cedar’s business description raised eyebrows.
“This is a complete camouflage,” said Hitesh Jain, a senior partner at ALMT Legal in Mumbai who advises retailers but is not involved with Wal-Mart. “It can be looked at as a violation of FDI rules because Cedar also operates supermarkets, which was a restricted sector back then.”
Graphic on Wal-Mart’s investment link.reuters.com/myp44t
Graphic on India’s retail market r.reuters.com/cuh79s
The law, however, is murky.
Others stressed that the way Wal-Mart structured the transaction might make it legal. According to the documents filed with India’s registrar, the investment was in the form of debt that was convertible into equity. That clouds the issue of whether Wal-Mart took a stake in Cedar or provided financing.
Bharti and Wal-Mart both declined to provide additional details on how the transaction was structured.
Senior government officials told Reuters that the RBI had asked the Enforcement Directorate, which investigates financial crimes, to look into whether Wal-Mart violated the law by investing in a supermarket retailer before foreign investment rules were relaxed.
If Wal-Mart did break the law, it could face a penalty of up to three times its initial $100 million investment, they said.
That would not only be a setback for Wal-Mart, it would also weaken consensus-building efforts by India’s minority government, led by the Congress party. The party is desperate for more support from across the political spectrum after its decision to let foreign players into India’s retail market came under fire from the opposition and even some of its own allies.
Wal-Mart and other retailers lobbied for years to gain access to India’s market, lured by the promise of a middle class that will one day rival China’s. But local opposition has been fierce because of concern that Wal-Mart and its peers will knock millions of mom-and-pop stores out of business.
Reuters pieced together details of Wal-Mart’s investment in Cedar by examining records from India’s Registrar of Companies and through interviews with government officials involved with the matter, as well as several lawyers who work with retailers.
The documents reveal a web of companies set up under the Bharti umbrella, which runs India’s largest telecom operator, Bharti Airtel (BRTI.NS). The group, which also has retail interests, signed a joint venture with Wal-Mart to run wholesale stores in 2007, shortly after India allowed full foreign ownership of wholesale retail operations.
That same year, the Bharti group formed Bharti Retail Holdings Ltd, which in turn owned a subsidiary called Bharti Retail Ltd which operated supermarkets and hypermarkets.
In December 2009, Bharti Retail Holdings changed its business description to consulting services from retail, the documents filed with India’s Registrar show. A month later, the company changed its name to Cedar.
The timing of the change in name and business is significant because when Wal-Mart invested in Cedar in March 2010, foreign companies could legally own 100 percent of an Indian consulting firm but not a supermarket retailer.
Cedar issued “compulsorily convertible debentures” to Wal-Mart Mauritius Holdings Co Ltd, which would be exchanged for 49 percent equity 18 months after the issue date. The conversion date has since been pushed back twice, to September 2013, which would be after India’s relaxation of rules on retail investment.
Cedar’s cash flow statement for 2010 shows that the funds raised from the debentures were used to finance activities and an attached schedule to the balance sheet shows a transfer of 1.75 billion rupees to its retail unit, raising questions over whether Wal-Mart’s money went into the retail business.
M.P. Achuthan, a communist member of India’s parliament, has accused Wal-Mart of breaking the foreign direct investment law and said he wanted the company to be penalised. Achuthan also wants India to scrap its foreign retail investment policy.
“I am surprised and shocked that the government didn’t see this. This kind of an investment could not have happened without the government’s knowledge,” Achuthan said. “It is impossible.”
Wal-Mart’s Indian partner, Bharti Enterprises, said it had followed the rules but did not address specific questions emailed by Reuters.
“We are in complete compliance of all regulations. All details have been shared with the relevant authorities,” a Bharti Enterprises spokesman said.
Two senior government officials said there had been an initial round of communication between the Reserve Bank of India and the Enforcement Directorate. The RBI asked the law enforcement agency to conduct the investigation.
“RBI believes there is a need to investigate,” said a senior government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. He said both Wal-Mart and Bharti were being investigated because “Wal-Mart allegedly made the investment and Bharti allegedly received it”.
Separately, Wal-Mart said last month it was looking into bribery allegations in several countries including India, Brazil and China. It conducted an earlier probe in Mexico.
DEBT OR EQUITY?
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is under intense pressure to roll back the decision to permit foreign retailers. Parliament ground to a halt on November 22 over opposition to the reforms until the government agreed to a vote, set for Wednesday.
A year ago, political pressure forced the government to make a U-turn after it first approved foreign investment into supermarkets, an abrupt shift that brought into question India’s ability to build consensus behind long-awaited reforms.
When Wal-Mart made the investment in Cedar in 2010, Indian law permitted foreigners to own “cash-and-carry” wholesale stores, but they were barred from owning what India calls multi-brand retailers, or stores like Wal-Mart’s namesake supermarkets that sell a wide array of products and brands.
Whether the investment in Cedar violated India’s law depends on two issues, according to the lawyers: if Cedar was in fact a retailer rather than a consultancy, and how the investment was structured.
Cedar’s articles of association filed with the Registrar show it called itself a consultancy, but a few pages later it describes a “competing business” as one involved in retail and operates supermarkets, hypermarkets and discount stores.
Even if investigators determine Cedar was a retailer, lawyers said Wal-Mart’s investment may still be legal if the transaction is deemed to be debt. Wal-Mart could then argue that it did not acquire a stake but instead extended a loan.
But according to RBI guidelines set in 2007, compulsorily convertible debentures are considered equity. That would mean Wal-Mart jumped the gun, said Alok Dhir, managing partner Dhir & Dhir Associates.
Dhir said there may be one way around that problem. If Wal-Mart and Bharti included a “put” option on the debentures, it could be considered debt because Wal-Mart would no longer be required to convert the debt to equity.
It is not clear whether this transaction included such a clause, and Wal-Mart and Bharti declined to comment.
Does the name Bharti ring abell?
Walmart, the retail Chain released its earnings recently.
It shows how the US has virtually been taken over in an important segment.
We do not know at what cost, as yet.
How about the small Traders and producers?
Retail behemoth Walmart released earnings Thursday, and many have used the report as a way to gauge how the American consumer feels. (Still strained, for the record.) That’s because Walmart is the country’s biggest retailer. Take a look at this animated GIF map by Excel Hero that illustrates the wildfire-like spread of Walmart stores that led to its domination of the United States.
You’ll need an equidistant map like this one, in order to plot the coordinates easily. If anyone knows the mathematics needed to transpose coordinates so they can be plotted on the more common map projections where the border between the USA and Canada is curved, please let me know! I have not figured that out yet.
- Walmart Earnings Just Okay (WMT) (dailyfinance.com)