According to Indian reports, in a move to strengthen its retail business Reliance Industries is plotting an overseas acquisition.

A Reliance management team recently visited the UK and US, the Business Standard reported. Reliance is said to have held discussions with a handful of second-tier companies, including Sainsbury's.

A spokesperson for the UK retailer declined to comment on the rumour.

Sources close to Reliance have said that the group is interested in an outright acquisition, not a strategic tie-up. However, it has also been suggested that the group may be in advanced discussions with the retail giant Carrefour with a view to establishing an Indian joint venture.