Wagh Bakri leaves Assam tea garden plans to next generation

Kolkata, Aug 10 (IANS) Gujarat Tea Processors And Packers Limited (GTPPL), owner of the Wagh Bakri brand of teas, is considering to foray into premium tea production and has plans to purchase 6-10 tea gardens in Assam – but by its next generation.

“We have plans to acquire 6-10 premium gardens in Assam for Rs. 150-200 crore and foray into tea production. Presently, we blend and package teas for retail sales,” company chairman and managing director Piyush Desai told media persons here.

The company had strived to enter into the production segment some time back but had stalled its plans.

“We are waiting for the right time to grab the opportunity. The acquisition will be carried out by the next generation of the company’s leadership,” said Desai, who is 75.

The company has benchmarked a minimum production of a million kg of premium tea for the gardens it may acquire and is in talks with the Assam government.

Desai, who is a member of the core committee in Tea Board representing interest of tea traders and president of Western India Tea Dealers’ Association, is also considering to sell packaged coffee but not enter into the harvesting front.

The Ahmedabad-based company, which has also forayed into tea lounges in Delhi and Mumbai may also float a separate firm to fuel its expansion plans.

The tea blender exports a million kg of packaged tea each year to USA, Canada and several markets in Africa, Europe, Middle-East and Asia-Pacific regions and is looking at a 25 percent increase in exports this fiscal.

GTPPL clocked a revenue in excess of Rs.950 crore for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2015 registering a net profit of Rs. 57 crore.

“We are looking at a rise of 10-15 percent in our revenues this fiscal year,” said Desai.

It presently sells 40 million kg of tea every year of which about 25 million kg is in the premium segment and has claimed to be the third largest packaged tea company in India.

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