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Future Group Plans to Wipe Out Debt by 2013, Economic Times Says

March 19 (Bloomberg) -- India’s Future Group, including Pantaloon Retail India Ltd., plans to wipe out its 78 billion-rupee ($1.6 billion) debt by March 2013, the Economic Times newspaper reported, citing Chairman Kishore Biyani.

The group is negotiating as many as 18 deals to raise funds, and expects many of them to be completed by early next fiscal year, the report cited Biyani as saying. Biyani asked to be contacted later when called on his mobile phone today.

Pantaloon, the country’s largest listed retailer, rose as much as 2.9 percent to 159.95 rupees in Mumbai trading. Future Capital Holdings Ltd., the group’s financial services company, gained as much as 6.5 percent to 128 rupees, the biggest intraday increase since Feb. 29.

Future Capital has more than a third of the total debt, while Pantaloon Retail and its unit Future Value Retail Ltd. each have borrowings of about 25 billion rupees, according to the newspaper.

The group plans to reduce its focus on furniture and electronics, and concentrate more on food and fashion retail, according to the report. It will merge eZone, its electronic retail chain, with a services company, the newspaper reported.

The group plans to seek partners and financial investors for HomeTown, its furniture retail outlet network, according to the newspaper.

To contact the reporter on this story: Malavika Sharma in New Delhi at msharma52@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Stephanie Wong at swong139@bloomberg.net;

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