BENGALURU Charoen Pokphand Foods, Thailand's largest meat producer, aims to begin supplying chicken to KFC and McDonald's Corp in India within the next few months as part of a push into a market that could become one of its biggest.
CP Foods plans to invest at least $400 million in India over the next 20 years and recently opened a food-processing plant in Andhra Pradesh. The company is best known in India for its Five Star Chicken outlets.
Sanjeev Pant, senior vice-president of the food business of CPF (India) Pvt Ltd, the company's Indian unit, said he was in talks with multiple fast-food chains in India, including McDonald's and Yum Brands Inc's KFC.
Asked when he expected to partner with these chains as a supplier, he said within "the next three months or so."
Pant was speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of a news conference in Bengaluru to mark the launch of the company's packaged foods business in India.
CPF is the flagship unit of Charoen Pokphand Group, controlled by Thailand's richest man, Dhanin Chearavanont.
It has been seeking to shift its focus from the domestic market to exporting chicken products to Japan and Europe to help offset weak domestic demand and lessen the impact of a weaker economy at home.
For India, the investment comes amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make in India" push to attract foreign direct investment by making it easier to do business.
India's domestic packaged food market is set to increase to $50 billion by 2017 from about $32 billion in December, according to a survey by the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India.
CP Foods should be able to grow its revenue in India by at least 20 percent to 25 percent over the next few years, Pant said, in line with his expectations for the entire Indian packaged foods market.
As part of its expansion, CP Foods has invested $18 million in the Andhra Pradesh plant, which has capacity to produce 20,000 tonnes a year of chicken and 1,000 tonnes of other products.
Pant said the company would focus on popularising its brand name in southern Indian cities over the next three to five years, before considering expanding into other regions of the country.
(Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru; Editing by Robin Paxton)
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