March 20, 2012 / 7:53 AM / 5 years ago

India's Bharti Walmart in talks with banks to raise funds-company source

MUMBAI, March 20 (Reuters) - India's Bharti Walmart is in talks with several banks such as Citigroup Inc, JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas to raise loans to fund its local expansion plans, a company source said on Tuesday.

Bharti Walmart, a cash and carry joint venture between U.S. retail giant Walmart Stores Inc and Bharti Enterprises which runs Indian telecom firm Bharti Airtel, will use the funds to roll-out stores in the country, the source added.

A company spokesperson confirmed that talks were on but refused to give any further details.

"The money is being raised for investing in building of an efficient back-end infrastructure and for our Best Price Modern Wholesale cash and carry store roll out program," the spokesperson said.

The company had earlier said it plans to roll out 10-12 cash and carry or wholesale stores in India in 2012. It currently has 17 stores.

India currently allows 100 percent foreign ownership in wholesale operations and single brand retail.

In December, the government suspended plans to open India's $450 billion supermarket sector to foreign firms such as Walmart France's Carrefour, U.K's Tesco Plc in the face of huge political backlash.

However, India's Finance Minister in his 2012 federal budget speech said talks were on with several Indian states in an effort to reach a consensus on the issue.

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