Nepal’s noodle king harbours India expansion plans

Billionaire Binod Chaudhary, the man behind Wai Wai instant noodles, is diversifying his food business and has plans for an IPO soon.

Binod Chaudhary, the only billionaire entrepreneur from Nepal—who is best known for starting instant noodle brand Wai Wai—says that 2020 was a mixed bag for his group of companies which straddle construction, hospitality, wellness, and FMCG products.

Chaudhary, whose CG Corp Global is one of the largest management contract partners with Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL, which runs the Taj group of hotels), also operates hotels under the Fern, Zinc, and Beacon brands, with 78 properties and 4,260 keys. Chaudhary says that while the last year was particularly bad for hospitality, he had expected more resilience from the Indian market and was surprised at the downturn that ensued as fast as it did.

The group’s food division, meanwhile, has invested over ₹100 crore to expand production of its food business in Rajasthan and plans to roll out a series of products across different food and beverage categories in the coming months. Those will include the launch of Wai Wai hot sauces, which would be available in the market by February. In an interview with Fortune India, Chaudhary holds forth on business and expansion plans, among other things. Edited excerpts:

How was business for you last year in India?
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March 3, 2021