Asif Adil bids adieu to John Distilleries

Last Updated: Tue, Jun 29, 2010 20:00 hrs

A year after taking over as vice-chairman and CEO of Bangalore-based John Distilleries Ltd (JDL), Asif Adil, the former managing director of Diageo India, is moving on. Adil is currently on leave of absence at JDL. When contacted, Adil said that he would decide on his next course of action by the end of August this year.

"I have an excellent relationship with Paul John (promoter of JDL). I could either venture out on my own or do something with him," he said in a telephonic conversation with Business Standard.

Adil, who quit Diageo last year before taking up the vice-chairman’s position at JDL, was tasked with taking the regional player onto the national stage.

JDL’s Original Choice Deluxe whisky is already one of the leading whisky brands in India selling almost 10 million cases annually (one case contains twelve bottles). But the gameplan was to launch more national-level brands in different segments.

Adil had already set the process in motion at the Rs 470-crore JDL launching Mont Castle brandy early this year. There were more products to come such as white rum, gin and vodka under the Salute umbrella as well as a premium version of its Orginal Choice whisky called Original Choice Gold.

JDL was also looking to add some high-end whisky brands such as Grand Duke Prestige whisky and Highland Cask in the coming months. An expansion of its wine portfolio under the Big Banyan umbrella was also on the cards.

Adil says that the preparatory work for these launches has been completed. "But the launch of these products is likely to happen post the private equity funding that JDL is seeking," he said.

JDL has been looking to raise private equity capital for long. The term sheet for this, says Adil, has been submitted by the investor without specifying which one it is. "Discussions on valuations etc are being held directly by Paul with the investors," he said.

But the firm is said to be looking at a Rs 150-crore PE funding, which would result in a 25 per cent equity dilution. This valued JDL, which has an overall market share of about 8-10 per cent, at Rs 600 crore.

The firm is strong in the south especially in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. It has four manufacturing facilties in Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Chattisgarh, which are owned by it.

The move, meanwhile, by Adil to "venture out on his own" will mean that he will embrace entrepreneurship full time, say industry sources. Adil had a taste of it at JDL where he held a minor stake, they say. His association with the alcoholic beverage industry, incidentally, is four years old only.

Besides the one year with JDL, he was with Diageo for three years - from 2006 to 2009.

Before that he was with beverage firm Pepsi for eight years, moving to the company from consultancy McKinzie, where he was for 12 years.

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