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Posted: Monday, 30 Sep 2019 22:56

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Prestige Wines Restructures to make it Asset-Light

Sep 30: Prestige Wines and Spirits Pvt Ltd, the erstwhile joint venture between Gautam Thapar and Torres of Spain, now owned by the former’s family is undergoing a major structural change that includes outsourcing the distribution in Delhi, Mumbai and Goa and adding more labels that are needed in the Indian market and also adding new food products and more spirits to make it a sustainable business in the long term and getting the Managing Director of a group company on board as Advisor, writes Subhash Arora

After working with Torres for over 20 years during which it made Torres a household name for wine drinkers without many even knowing it was a Spanish wine, there is new direction in the business conducted by Prestige. While this means a gradual withdrawal of Torres wines from their range, the indigenous company has decided to restructure the operations completely with no  effect   on  the  products and services.

Alcobev market   in India is complex and difficult to operate.  Despite the policy and procedure constraints Prestige has done well in promoting brands including Torres in its portfolio. It has been a regular entry in the Top Ten Importers List of delWine and is considered an important player in the premium brand market.

‘Certain   key  directors   of  our  board,  management    and  consultants have devised  a new business plan to take  us to the  next  level, ’  says Sumit Sehgal, Director managing the company operations, adding  ‘our  analysis  shows that extensive  time  was being spent on logistics,  distribution  and warehousing   whereas  complexity   of market  demands  more  focus on sales and marketing. Prestige has therefore decided to go for an asset- light business model and is appointing distributers for storage and logistics in Delhi, Mumbai and Goa.’

The parting with Torres has been amicable and Prestige will still distribute their wines this year. It is not clear how Torres would avoid gaps in the market due to no fresh supplies. But as Sumit says, the program is still in progress and possible kinks are being sorted out.

‘Under  this  new hybrid  model,  we will   focus our  energies  in sourcing  new  brands  and labels that  our key clients  may require  in addition   to procuring   any new products  that  they  need. The essence of this change is to remain flexible in the services that we deliver’, he says. Besides focusing on the labels that the market needs, they would also look at more spirits and food imports also.

Prestige has also brought on board  Paul-Bernard  Poupon,  Managing Director of Avantha Technologies (an IT company),  as an Advisor  whose  expertise  and  relationships   in the  F&B market  will  be helpful in approaching   wine  and spirits  brands from  Europe along with  other  niche  products.

This decision on the part of Torres and Thapar underlines the different strategies of the erstwhile partners in the global context. ‘We are looking for a sustainable business in India. Many big spirits companies like Pernod Ricard and Diageo already have this model and we have come to this conclusion after experience. ‘

Other importers would be watching with interest the Prestige story as it unfolds into them becoming a much bigger player in the Indian market for wine, spirits, foods and other product related to F & B industry.

Subhash Arora


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