Tycoon Birla to Tap India’s Love for Gold With Jewellery Venture

Billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla plans to start selling gold jewellery in the world’s second-biggest bullion market by July as his conglomerate diversifies into new areas to tap the Indian consumer.

The Aditya Birla Group’s branded-jewellery retail business will be rolled out nationwide under a privately-held company, Birla said on the sidelines of an event to announce the launch of his paints business in the north Indian state of Haryana. “The group is moving towards more consumer-facing businesses, that’s where the world is moving,” he said.

The gold jewellery venture will be the Mumbai-based group’s third major move into a new business over the last couple of years following paints and B2B e-commerce for building materials. Birla will be competing in a market that is dominated by small shops and national chains like the Tata Group’s Tanishq and Warburg Pincus LLC-backed Kalyan Jewellers India Ltd.

Birla had earlier earmarked 50 billion rupees ($604 million) for the jewellery business. India’s gold demand is expected to rebound to as much as 900 tonnes in the next two years from 748 tonnes in 2023 supported by increasing incomes as the economy grows, according to the World Gold Council. Wearing and gifting gold is considered auspicious during weddings and festivals in India.

By Swansy Afonso and P R Sanjai

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