Pantaloon Retail is now entering airports in a tie-up with Alpha Airports Group Plc. The 50:50 joint venture will look into the travel retail and food and beverage catering businesses at leading airports.
Alpha and Pantaloon Retail are currently in discussions on acquiring retail space in the Bangalore, Hyderabad and Delhi airports. The Mumbai airport is expected to issue its requests for proposals shortly.
The government is considering plans for the privatisation of Chennai and Kolkata airports.
The final business model of the joint venture was yet to be worked out, said sources close to the development.
An Alfa release to the London Stock Exchange says there are considerable opportunities in India for this new venture.
Over 90 per cent of India's total airline traffic is through its top 10 airports, with international traffic growing at 15 per cent and domestic traffic at 28 per cent last year, the release says.
Peter Williams, CEO, Alpha Airports Group Plc, said: "India has the most exciting passenger growth and airport development worldwide and we are very pleased to have the largest retail group in India working with us in this partnership.
"This gives us a wonderful opportunity to leverage our strong position in the Indian subcontinent."
Alpha has been operating in India since 2002 with its duty-free shops at Cochin International Airport.
The retail outlets at Cochin generate more than double the Indian average for spend per passenger. Since 1996, Alpha has had operations in the wider Asian market in Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Alpha Airports Group Plc is one of the world's leading aviation support services companies, providing retailing and catering services to airlines and airports.
Alpha's 6,900 staff service over 100 airlines worldwide and operate from over 200 outlets at 83 airports in 15 countries. It has an annual turnover of over $550 million.
Alpha was advised by Mumbai-based investment banking firm, Globus Capital Advisors, for the joint venture.
Pantaloon Retail is currently the largest retailer in India with over 100 outlets across the country, covering 3.5 million square feet of retail space and generating over Rs 1,980 crore ($440 million) in turnover.Pantaloon's retail offerings now encompass department stores (Central), Hyper markets (Big Bazaar), home products and services (Home Town, Collection i), fashion (Pantaloons, Fashion Station), leisure (CO, F123), communications (M bazaar, Gen M), electronics (e-zone), food (Food Bazaar), and health and beauty (Start Sitara, Tulsi).