Rajesh Exports Ltd , one of India’s top jewellery makers and exporters, plans to open 300 retail stores in India over the next three years, and has lined up a capex of 30-40 billion rupees, a top official said.

The firm currently has 25 retail outlets in the country, which it runs under the mass-level brand ‘Shubh’.

“Within the next three years in India we are planning to open about 300 stores and by the end of this financial year we should be in a position to open 80-100 stores,” Rajesh Mehta, chairman and managing director, told Reuters in an interview.

The firm has earmarked a capital expenditure of 6-7 billion rupees for FY11, he added.

The firm plans to increase revenues from retail operations to 20-25 percent of total revenues from the current 1.5 percent.

Mehta also plans to set up retail operations overseas with showrooms in the Middle East, Far East, U.S. and parts of Europe including the U.K. and France.

“We will start looking at pushing our retail operations overseas from the next financial year..we are looking at retail companies as well as individual retail stores also for takeover or some kind of association,” he said.

The company currently does not have any retail operations overseas.

The firm is also in advanced talks with overseas firms to acquire gold refineries and mines, and is likely to close some deals over the next 3-4 months, he added.

“We should be able to come out with some results in the next 3-4 months..the geographies will be either Australia or South Africa,” he said.

Mehta said demand for gold and diamond has improved from last year and he expected a topline growth of 30-40 percent year-on-year in FY10 and hopes to clock 15-20 percent growth in FY11.

“Gold demand is expected to go up in this fiscal because prices have more or less stabilised now. I see prices coming down a little from the current levels in the next 5-6 months,” he said.

Diamond sales contribute to 1-2 percent of the firms revenues and the rest is contributed by gold.

Earlier in the day, Rajesh Exports told stock exchanges its current order book stood at over 46 billion rupees.

Mehta also said the appreciating rupeee will have little impact on the margins of the gold jewellery exporter.

“Rupee appreciation does not really matter to us as our exports and imports match each other and that is not a worry for us,” he said. (Reuters)