India's Bharti to decide on fate of JV with Wal-Mart in October-report

MUMBAI Thu Oct 3, 2013 1:40am EDT

MUMBAI Oct 3 (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc's India partner, Bharti Enterprises, will take a call on the future of its wholesale joint venture with the U.S. retailer this month, the Economic Times said on Thursday.

Wal-Mart should take a decision on its Indian retail plans in October and Bharti will accordingly decide if those plans match its overall retail ambitions, Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Enterprises told reporters on the sidelines of the India-Africa Business Council Meeting in Johannesburg.

Wal-Mart has an equal joint venture with Bharti under which it runs its Best Price Modern Wholesale Stores in India and the U.S. retailer last year had called Bharti its "natural partner" to open its retail stores in the country.

In July, Reuters reported Bharti was looking to exit its joint venture with Wal-Mart.

India permitted foreign retailers to own 51 percent of their Indian operations in September 2012, but ambiguity around rules governing the policy has ensured no foreign retailer has so far applied to enter the country.

A spokesman for Bharti Enterprises, which also runs top Indian telecommunications carrier Bharti Airtel, declined to comment beyond Mittal's comment published in the newspaper.

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