Billionaire Mukesh Ambani is bringing Pret A Manger stores to India

One of the world's richest men is launching Pret A Manger in India, adding the British coffee and sandwich store brand to a huge business empire that spans energy, retail and telecommunications.

A unit of Mukesh Ambani's conglomerate Reliance Industries said on Thursday that it has entered into a "long-term master franchise partnership" with Pret A Manger and will "launch and build the brand in India."

Darshan Mehta, the managing director of Reliance Brands, said in a statement that the partnership was rooted in the "strong growth potential" of the Pret brand and India's food and beverage industry.

With its population of 1.3 billion and rapid growth, India is a key market for international food brands, including coffee shops. In 2012, Starbucks opened its first store in the country, by partnering with a unit of India's largest conglomerate Tata Group.

Mehta said that Pret A Manger — which means "ready to eat" in French — has strong brand recognition in the South Asian country.