Page last updated at 09:29 GMT, Monday, 24 November 2008

Cobra Beer mulls sale or alliance

Lord Bilimoria
Cobra Beer founder Lord Bilimoria seeks brand expansion in India

Cobra Beer, a "less gassy" brand of lager aimed at Indian restaurants, has been put up for sale by its founder, Lord Bilimoria.

It has appointed Rothschild to assist with either a sale or a "strategic partnership", the company's spokesman has said.

Cobra is sold in 6,000 restaurants in the UK and wants to expand in India.

In September the firm raised £15m ($22m) from its investors after failing to sell a stake to drinks giant Diageo.

Cobra Beer hopes a sale or partnership would help achieve its goal of taking 10% of the Indian market by 2012.

It is thought that any sale would value the company at around £200m.

Lord Bilimoria set up the company in 1989, after graduating from Cambridge.

Cobra Beer has been brewed in the UK since 1997.

It was produced initially in Bangalore, India, and imported to the United Kingdom.

The company reported 37% volume growth and retail sales of £178m in October, in line with expectations, despite what it called a "tough economic environment".

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