Wal-Mart’s path into India may be getting easier

New Delhi, India -- A Monday report by Bloomberg said that an Indian governmental panel recommended easing market-entry restrictions, making Wal-Mart Stores’ and Carrefour SA’s path into the India retail market potentially much easier.

Citing a finance ministry official as its source, Bloomberg reported that a panel of New Delhi bureaucrats recommended on Friday that overseas companies be allowed to own up to 51% of stores that sell more than one brand if they invest a minimum of $100 million.

“It would get in new players to the market -- you’d have more efficiencies coming in,” Abhishek Ranganathan, a Mumbai-based analyst at MF Global Sify Securities Pvt., told Bloomberg. “What something like a Wal-Mart or a Carrefour can actually bring to the table in terms of knowledge, back-end systems and supply-chain efficiencies can help Indian retailers they choose to partner with.”

India currently allows overseas companies 51% ownership in retail shops selling only one brand and 100% in wholesale stores.

No timeline on a ruling on the new recommendation has been announced.

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