Tata Tea Blog

Friday, September 07, 2007

Tata Tea eyes broader range of water products

Tata Tea Ltd plans to use a newly acquired mineral water brand to launch premium and mass-market packaged products for health-conscious consumers, a senior company official said on Thursday.

Tata Tea, the world's second-biggest branded tea firm, has taken management control of Mount Everest Mineral Water Ltd after it bought nearly 26 percent of the company in June. It plans to make an open offer for a further 20 percent. Tata Tea will use the "wellness" plank to sell Himalayan mineral water and other water products, Pradeep Poddar, managing director of Mount Everest Mineral Water, told Reuters by telephone.

"The opportunity in water is very exciting for us," he said. "We are looking at niche segments such as functional and enhanced water, as well as mass offerings for the lower end of the consumer pyramid," he said, referring to vitamin- or mineral-enhanced water and basic packaged water.

Last year, Tata Tea bought 30 percent of U.S. vitamin water maker Energy Brands Inc. It sold the stake to Coca-Cola Co in May for $1.2 billion, nearly twice what it paid, but said it was still keen to increase its presence in non-tea beverages, including through acquisitions.

Local media have reported Tata Tea was interested in U.S.-based AriZona Beverages as well as Cadbury Schweppes Plc's North American beverages unit.

Tata Tea, which owns the Tetley brand, has bought herbal and fruit tea brands in the United States and eastern Europe, and has a green tea venture in China. It also plans a venture in Russia.

Tata Tea would also look at launching Himalayan water, or other brands it develops, in overseas markets, Poddar said.

"We will have a plan on the table in three to six months," he said, declining to specify investments.

The Indian market for packaged water, estimated at about 20 billion rupees ($490 million), is growing quickly on the back of higher incomes and the expansion of modern retail.

Tata Tea Mulling $2B Acquisition of AriZona Beverages

India’s Tata Group is eyeing possible acquisition targets in the beverage market in the U.S., primarily AriZona Beverages, best known for its iced tea, according to media reports here.

The Tatas have been interested in AriZona Beverages for three years now, The Economic Times of Mumbai said in a report quoting unnamed sources. Company officials did not comment on the rumors.

Long Island-based AriZona began as a beer distributor in New York’s market in 1971. The company diversified into its well-known tea brands only in 1992. Its product line now includes juices and carbonated drinks. Tata Tea is looking at a possible buyout offer of $2 billion for the U.S. business.

The Tatas were also reportedly part of a consortium led by the Blackstone Group that was eyeing Cadbury Schweppes’s beverage business in North America, estimated at around $16 billion. But Cadbury said last month that it was extending the transaction because of volatility in debt markets. The Tatas were keen on a stake in Cadbury’s popular Snapple brand that would extend their portfolio in the U.S. market.

Last August, Tata Tea picked up a 30% stake in vitamin water brand Glaceau. But it sold the stake to Coca-Cola for $1.26 billion when Coke acquired Glaceau’s parent Energy Brands in May.

At the time, Tata Tea Vice Chairman R. K. Krishna Kumar said the company was keen on aggressively expanding in the U.S. markets and would build up a beverage brand there through inorganic growth. Officials said they were keen on 100% acquisitions, as is the company’s habitual preference, the Glaceau stake notwithstanding.

At present, revenues from the tea business account for 86% of the company’s turnover. Britain’s Tetley Group, the second largest bagged tea brand globally, is also a subsidiary of Tata Tea.

Tata Tea plans Russia venture

Tata Tea is planning to set up a joint venture company in Russia to tap opportunities in the tea and coffee space.

Speaking on the sidelines of the company’s annual general meeting, Tata Tea Vice-Chairman R K Krishna Kumar said, Tata Tea was talking to a few companies and hoped to set up the joint venture by the end of the current financial year.

The move is part of Tata Tea’s plans to expand its global footprint. Krishna Kumar said, the company would like to have a global footprint from Japan to the US. “We are looking at the beverage market in the US since Tetley already has a footprint in Europe and Canada,” he said.

He declined to comment on possible targets. At present, Tata Tea has a global market share of four per cent and ranks second while Unilever tops with 15 per cent share. Krishna Kumar said, the company would narrow down the gap by having innovative products. He mentioned the joint venture in China for manufacturing polyphenol extracts in this context.

Earlier, addressing shareholders, Chairman Ratan Tata said, the company was not restricted to India and had truly become a global company. “We have an exciting future ahead of us,” he said.

He also mentioned the company was migrating from plantations to branded operations. Around 89 per cent of its revenues came from branded business. He, however, clarified that the company had initially guaranteed offtake from the restructured plantation companies at auction prices.

Tata Tea announced North India Plantations restructuring towards the end of 2006-07. In 2005, South India Plantations was restructured to form Kannan Devan Hills Plantations Co, in which Tata Tea currently holds a 18.2 per cent stake.

Tata said, the south Indian plantations were making losses prior to the restructuring. But last year the company recorded a profit of Rs 8-9 crore and was expected to be in the profit zone this year as well.

Tata Tea on global mission

There’s nothing definite yet. But Tata Tea may consider a host of key strategic initiatives, including change of company name, amalgamation of its beverage businesses globally and even a stock-split at an appropriate time.

This was indicated on Friday by Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata. He was speaking at Tata Tea’s AGM in the city. The announcements are in step with Tata Tea’s long-term ambitions to emerge as a global beverages heavyweight.

Addressing Tata Tea shareholders, Mr Tata said; “We may consider a name change for the company at an appropriate time. Right now, Tata Tea is largely a tea company. We may also have to consider amalgamating of all our beverage businesses at the right time after evaluating tax implications.” He also hinted at a stock-split in response to a specific shareholder query.

Underscoring Tata Tea’s global ambitions, Mr Tata said, “The company is no longer an Indian company. It is an Indian-owned global company. We are gradually converting it into a wellness beverage company. We are looking at different geographies to expand global footprint.”

Significantly, Tata Tea, which is the world’s second largest branded tea company, has drawn up a road map to expand its global footprint.

Among other things, the company is scouting for acquisitions in the US and South America, setting up a joint venture in Russia and strengthening its presence in China through its joint venture company formed recently with Zhejiang Tea Import and Export Co Ltd (ZTIE). The Chinese JV will also enable the company to make an entry into the Far East.

The company will also make a Rs 15-crore capital expenditure in its existing facilities in 2007-08. At present, Tata Tea has several beverage businesses like Tetley, Jemca, Joekels, Goodearth, Eight ‘clock. Talking to newspersons, R K Krishna Kumar, Tata Tea vice-chairman, said, “We plan to set up a joint venture company in Russia with one or more partners which will look at opportunities both in tea, coffee and other tea-based beverages. There has been an economic upturn in Russia and CIS nations and these destinations are suddenly becoming profitable. This venture will enable us to penetrate in countries like Ukraine, Kazakhstan and others. We hope to float the JV this fiscal.”

Incidentally, the company has already initiated a market research in Russia and adjoining areas. The company’s JV with ZTIE will enable it to strengthen its presence in China. “The JV will work on green tea extracts and polyphenols and come up with some wellness products.”

“Our experience with Energy Brands show that the United States is an extremely profitable market. To become a global player, we need to have a strong presence in the US,” Mr Krishna Kumar said.

Tata Tea shuts down Dooars estate

The Tata Tea-owned Damdim Tea Estate issued a lockout notice this morning after the garden’s managerial staff was kept confined to the office for 15 hours yesterday.

The workers have denied the charges and blamed Uday Bhanu Das, the new manager of the garden who had come from Assam a few months ago, for the crisis.

The garden, 45km from here, was once considered a model tea estate in the Dooars in terms of worker-management relation. It was the first garden to complete individual electric metering system in the workers’ quarters, sources in the industry said. Even Chanu Dey, the CPM zonal committee secretary of Malbazar, where the garden is located, admitted that the track record of the garden as far as payment of wages, ration and other benefits are concerned, is near perfect.

“But the new manager was always experimenting — from holidays to work culture, he was changing everything,” said Dey. Apparently, Das had switched the weekly holiday from Sunday to Monday. “Not only that, plantation workers were brought to the factory and factory workers sent to pluck tealeaves. If any worker protested, the person was not assigned any work for 10 days at a stretch,” Dey added.

The lockout comes two months after Jairam Ramesh appealed to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to rein in “local-level leaders” of a Left trade union — meaning the Citu — to end the crisis in the tea industry. The request came close on the heels of the central minister’s ultimatum to owners of closed gardens to either open their estates or they would be acquired under Sections 16 (D) and (E) of the Tea Act.

But this time, it is not the “Left trade union” alone. Sadhan Bose, representing the Intuc-affiliated National Union of Plantation Workers in Malbazar said they were not happy with the manager either. “The labourers (the garden has 2,200 permanent labourers) were forced to work on August 15.” Bose, however, denied the charges of confinement. “Some workers had demonstrated near the factory yesterday. But most of the issues were sorted out at night through mutual discussion,” he added.

With D. Borah, the vice-president of North Indian Plantation Operations – the Tata Tea subsidiary formed with 21 gardens of Assam and four of north Bengal – not available in Guwahati, officials of the Dooars branch of Indian Tea Association (DBITA) have blamed the workers for the current crisis.

“Workers of the Barron division had confined the manager and some of his staff. They also did not allow the unloading of 46,000 kg of tealeaves brought to the factory,” said Prabir Bhattacharjee, the secretary of DBITA of which Damdim is a member.

Kallol Dutta, the deputy labour commissioner of Jalpaiguri, said his department was yet to receive a notice. “Company representatives have promised to settle the issue through bipartite meetings. In case it fails, we will fix a date for a tripartite meeting,” said Dutta.

Tata Tea looking for a bite of Cadbury?

Tata Tea has shown interest in a piece of Cadbury's global beverage business, not as a buyer or in making a financial investment, but as a strategic partner. In an exclusive interview to CNBC TV18, R K Krishnakumar for the first time has revealed that Tata Tea was invited to be a strategic partner by a consortium of private equity players.

Krishna Kumar, who is the Vice Chairman at Tata Tea, said, "I'm not saying we are pursuing Cadbury. We are invited into the process as a strategic partner and we may or may make any investment at all."

If Corus hadn't happened, the largest cross-border acquisition by an Indian company was Tata Tea's purchase of a 30% stake in energy brands for USD 677 million. The USA based company sells enhanced water products under the Glaceau brand. But in less than a year Tata Tea was forced to sell out to coke that made a USD 4.2 billion bid for Glaceau.

Excerpts from an exlusive interview with CNBC-TV18:

Q: Did you consider Glaceau a failed deal or fait accompli?

A: We had worked out an arrangement by which we would have secured 65% in Glaceau and that would have been an enterprise value of over USD 1.2 billion at that time. We had even lined up finances for it but there was a certain amount of concern about the size of that transaction. At that time, Glaceau was a very small EBITDA company, which had a turnover of close to USD 600 million. We discussed it internally and Mr Tata was convinced that this is the right move to make and so was I and we moved forward. But because of the concern expressed, we stepped back from 65% to 30%. We paid, at that time, the enterprise value of USD 2.2 billion and we only have a 30% stake in the company, we are minority shareholders. The management of this company had a great offer from Coke and the offer was for USD 4.2 billion, almost double.

Had it been 65% we would not have sold, at the same time being a minority shareholder, we did not want to stand in the way of the management in accepting this offer and taking that option. I do not believe that it is a failed transaction, because I believe that it is just a deflationary move and that there are other targets and there is the learning that we have made in eight months time. All that goes to make new beverages happen. Our insight for the whole beverage group in our company, the insight into what is driving change in that market makes us extremely interested in making a couple of potential moves in the coming period ahead. So it might look like as of we sold out and we lost out, we would have made a bigger profit but that is aside, I am saying that that journey continues, that persuade continues and the Holy Grail of that exercise is to be where the future is unfolding. I do not think that the fact that we stepped out of Glaceau prevents us from stepping in somewhere else, it is something that we need to do.

Q: Where is that somewhere else?

A: I am not going to tell you.

Q: Do you regret not having that 60%?

A: Personally, I certainly regret not having taken that 65%.

Q: Was there any thought in your mind to battle Coke or was the offer just overwhelming?

A: The offer was not overwhelming. We did put on the table a willingness to more than match that offer, but what we recognised was that Coke bought another dimension into that transaction. Coke distribution, which could have taken Glaceau not only a big player in the United States, but globally expanded it. At that point, we did not have that; had we acquired Cadbury we may have had some distribution muscle. But, at that point we did not have the distribution muscle so I think it is a very wise decision to say, sure you want to take that offer, you should do that, and we look for other opportunities and I am sure many opportunities will come.

Q: Cadbury’s sale is on hold because of the volatility in the market place, but it will come back to the market at some point. It is a huge transaction from what I hear, the valuations ranged around USD 8 billion.

A: No, it’s more. I am not saying that we are actually pursuing Cadbury, in fact we are not pursuing Cadbury. We have been invited into the process as a strategic partner and we may or may not make any investment at all.

Q: What does that mean they have invited into the process of a strategic player? Would you work with private equity players?

A: Basically there were two consortiums looking at that opportunity, very large private equity players. One of them was very keen that they should have a strategic partner and we talked to them and we said that we would not make any investment, because we are not convinced as yet. That is the right one to be associated with, so they invited us and we went in and looked at the operations along with the consortium and their enterprise value to USD 16 billion, it is a very large operation. So we looked at it as a strategic investor, but we decided that we would not invest in that acquisition because we were looking for some sunrise industry, we were looking for some cutting edge products and not something that has been there for quite some time. We were invited only as a strategic partner.

Q: Would that mean a management contract of some sort?

A: It would have meant being involved at the board level and setting direction.

Q: When this deal comes back on the table, would you be tempted to take up the offer of being a strategic partner if all things go well and the consortium becomes the winning consortium?

A: I think yes, but hopefully we would have moved on in the interim.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

History of the Company

1962

- The Company was incorporated on 18th October, as a private limited company and was converted into a public limited company on 8th May, 1963. The Company Cultivates tea, coffee, cardamom, etc., plantations and manufacturing, selling and exporting instant tea and blended and packeted teas. It has a factory at Munnar (Kerala) for the manufacture of instant tea and blending and packaging factories at Bangalore (Karnataka) and Naine, Allahabad (U.P.).

- The Company was set up in technical and financial collaboration with James Finlay & Co. Ltd., Glasgow, U.K. The technical and financial collaboration agreement expired on 1971.

1968

- The Company's operations were adversely affected by heavy development expenses incurred towards marketing and production of instant tea by the green leaf process, a hitherto untried commercial process but one with immense possibilities.

1971

- 50,000 shares in May 1863 were issued, and 94,00 shares, Rs 87.50 per shares paid-up, in Dec. 1963. 6,000 shares issued without payment in cash in Oct. 1964.

1976

- The ownership structure of some of the Finlay Tea Associates was reorganised with the effect that The Amalgamated Tea Estates Co. Ltd., became a wholly owned subsidiary of James Finlay while the Consolidated Tea and Lands Co. (India) Ltd. The Anglo American Direct Tea Trading Co. Ltd., became wholly owned subsidiaries of McLeod Russel & Co., Ltd. The Kannan Devan Hills Produce Co. Ltd., were owned in equal shares by James Finlay and McLeod Russel & Co. Ltd.

1977

- The allotment to the Finlay Tea Associates by the Company of Rs 19,80,000 No. of equity shares of Rs 10 each at par credited as fully paid-up and the balance amount of Rs 9.52 crores was retained as unsecured loans carrying simple interest at the rate of 5% per annum from 1st January, 1976.

- 26,00,000 shares offered at par to the public during June.

1979

- 20,00,000 Bonus shares issued in prop. 1:3.

1982

- James Finlay and McLeod Russel sold all their equity holdings to Tata Industries Ltd., on 1st December. Tata Industries in turn, offered the entire lot of 3.2 million shares at par to the present Indian shareholders of the Company in the proportion 2:3.

- Upon the Change in the Shareholding of the Company, the name of the Company was changed from Tata-Finlay Ltd., to Tata Tea Ltd.

1984

- The Company formed a 100% subsidiary investment company under the name and style of Bambino Investment and Trading Co. (Pvt.) Ltd.

- The Company issued and allotted 10,00,000-15% non-convertible debenture of Rs 100 each on rights basis. These debentures are redeemable at a premium of 5% on 31st March 1992. The redemption date was extended and the debentureholders were given the option to receive redemption proceeds on 31st March 1992 or extent upto 31st March 1999 at the rate of interest of 17.5%.

1986

- The Company Incorporated was established in the U.S.A., as a 100% subsidiary of the Company by acquiring the instant tea processing facilities of Tritea Incorporated, Florida, U.S.A.

- 42,05,130 shares allotted in conversion of 13.5% debs. (25,23,078 share on 1.7.1986 at par and 16,82,052 shares on 1.7.1987 prem. Rs 25 per share).

1988

- The Company had been acting as agents in Mumbai, Calcutta and Delhi for P & O Containers Ltd. (P&OCL), a foreign shipping line. During the year P&OCL expressed its desire to control its own agency affairs in India. An agreement was reached with P&OCL to transfer the shopping agency affairs to a new company floated by them with effect from 1st October, 1989.

- 48,82,052 Bonus shares issued in prop. 2:5.

1989

- During the year, a new blend under the name of `Prestige' was launched. The Company started a buttom mushrooms production plant in Kerala.

- On 20th October, Tata Tea Ltd. with a view to acquire majority holding made an offer to purchase CCL's equity shares held by its resident Indian shareholders (80%). For every 2 equity shares of CCL of the face value of Rs 10 each, TTL offered 1 of its equity share of the face value of Rs 10/- plus a sum of Rs 100 in cash. As per this scheme, till the end of February 1991, 19,92,573 No. of equity shares of TTL were allotted to resident Indian shareholders of CCL. Share upto a maximum of 22,902 may have have to issued to those whose certificates reached/yet to reach TTL thus total not exceeding 20,15,475 shares.

1990

- The new unit "Tata Spices Centre" set up at Cochin, in the previous year and exporting non-traditional products such as prices, cashew and marine products also contributed to the improved performance. A new brand of polypack "Brahmaputra" was launched, containing a blend of Assam teas and there were well received in the market.

- The Company privately placed with financial institutions 14% non-convertible debentures of Rs 15 crores. These debentures are redeemable at a premium of 5% on 17.9.1997.

- During the year, a range of flavoured teas were developed which were being produced on a commercial scale both for domestic and exports market. Other products developed were decaffeinated black tea and instant tea, organic tea and medicinal oils.

- Consolidated Coffee Ltd. alongwith its 100% subsidiaries, namely Veerarajendra Estates Ltd. and Conscofe Investments Ltd., became subsidiaries of the Company.

- In the Development of Haldia Petrochemical Complex at Haldia, Rs 3,000 crores joint venture, W. Bengal Government through its Industrial Development Corporation was to hold 26% of the share capital and the Company with its associates was to hold 24.99% in the capital. A letter of intent was received on 10th August.

- Tata tea have been growing medicinal plants with a view to seeking entry into Ayurvedic medicines. Rallis India, Ltd. (RIL) are the leaders in agrochenmicals and pharmaceuticals which are also used by the plantation industry.

1991

- A higher production was marred by the estates in the south being affected first by frost and thereafter by severe drought conditions that persisted till April 1992. A new premium dust brand "Chakra Gold" was launched.

- A new branch for the Lloyd's agency was set up at Kathmandu and the operations of the NYK line business and Lloyds agency were revamped.

- The Company proposed to expand the capacity at Munnar tea plantation to over million lbs. per year. The Company proposed to set up a new instant tea plant with a capacity of 3 million lbs of instant tea powder.

- The Company set up a pilot plant at Munnar for the production of Button Mushrooms and commenced test marketing the produce. A Spice Processing Centre in Cochin and a Medicinal & Aromatic Plant Processing Centre in Munnar were being set up based on experiments in the R&D Department.

- The Company proposed to establish a wholly-owned subsidiary "Tata Tea International, Ltd.", in Jersey, Channel Islands, U.K. mainly to invest in the shares capital of joint venture companies to be set up in a number of foreign markets. A joint venture was set up in Sri Lanka called Estate Management Services (Pvt.) Ltd., for managing 18 tea and rubber estates in Sri Lanka that were now open to private management by virtue of privatisation process initiated by Sri Lanka Government.

- The Company entered into an agreement with the State Trading Organisation of Iran to set up a joint venture in Iran to assist in upgrading the tea manufacturing base of Iran, modernise its processing facilities, set up packaging plant and jointly market its brands of tea in Iran.

1992

- International business division was established to consolidate export operations and to provide forays into foreign operations. The Division proposed to press ahead with its innovative methods of selling Tea to Russa, Uzbekistan & Kazakhasthan.

- The Company established another joint venture company namely Tata Tetley Ltd. with Lyons Tetley of U.K. with a share capital of Rs 10 crores held equally by the company and Lyons Tetley.

- The Company proposed to set up a joint venture Company on equal shareholding basis with Krasnodar Tea Company & its associates, in the name of Tata Krasnodar Industries Ltd.

- The Company proposed to establish an Indo-Japanese Joint venture in the name of "Tata NYK Transport Systems, Ltd."

- In August, the Company made an open offer to the shareholders of Rallis India Ltd. for the purchase of upto 29,94,995 equity shares of Rallies India representing upto 24.99% of the voting capital.

- The Company received offer for only 24.52% and accordingly allotted 19,59,142 No. of Equity shares of Rs 10 each of the Company as fully paid up to the shareholders of Rallies India

1993

- It was proposed to instal state-of-the-art facilities to increase production and also incorporate an advanced and environment friendly technologies.

- The Company has reorganised its capital structure in terms of a Scheme of Arrangement under Section 391 of the Companies Act, 1956 sanctioned by the High Court of Mumbai on 1st September, 1976. Prior to reorganisation the total paid-up equity capital of the Company was Rs 1,38,25,000 of which 49.42% was held by James Finlay, The Consolidated Tea and Lands Co. Ltd., West Nile Holdings Ltd., Teith Holdings Ltd. and Cessnock Holdings Ltd.

1994

- The Company entered into a joint venture with Hitachi Ltd., Japan, for setting up a joint venture in Japan. Necessary approvals were received to increase the Company's stake in Asian Coffee Ltd. (ACL) to 55%.

- 157,79,173 bonus equity shares issued in proportion 1:1.

1995

- 12,84,338 shares were allotted in exchange for 64,21,687 No. of equity shares of Asian Coffee Ltd. through as per offer.

- The Company introduced polpacks in the South and North and which were well received by the segments.

1996

- In view of the 50 years of independence, the company jointly with consolidated coffee limited launched a synergetic scheme under the banner "Pride of India" attracting 1.1 million direct consumers.

1997

- The Tata Tea Ltd. its subsidiary company Consolidated Coffee Ltd will mark the golden jubilee year of independence of launching "Pride of India" celebrations from 15th January.

- Tata Tea Ltd., which was the first company to introduce 100 per cent instant tea into the United States, is today the world's largest exporter of instant tea to western countries with a 15 per cent share in the US market.

- The US operations are handled by Tata Tea Incorporation, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Tata Tea in Florida, set up in 1984 to touch up the product manufactured in India.

- While Tata's is among the largest production capacities in the business at five million pounds, four other Indian companies contribute to the Indian exports Nestle, Tetlay, Lipton and Goodricke.

- Tata Tea, one of the largest tea manufacturing companies in the world.

- Recently, the company had entered a partnership with a Sri Lankan tea company to acquire tea gardens in the island nation.

- The subsidiaries of the group are consolidated Coffee Ltd., Asian Coffee Ltd., Tata Tea Inc, Tata Tetley Ltd., Tata Hitachi, Tata NYK and Tata Marine.

- Tata Tea Limited has launched its popular brand, Tata Tea Premium in the twin-cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad on Dec. 23, more than one year after its launch in the neighbouring state of Karnataka.

- Tata Tea Ltd. is all set to explore the Pakistan market during January next, in a move to further consolidate its position as one of the global tea major.

1998

- Tata Tea is the largest integrated tea company in the world with 53 estates spread over 24,500 hectares in Assam, W Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

- The 49:51 joint venture between Tata Tea and Estate Management Service Private Limited of Sri Lanka has proved eminently successful.

- The Indian tea magnet, Tata Tea Ltd. is all set to consolidate its coffee subsidiaries by merging three units Consolidated Coffee, Asian Coffee and Veerarajendra Estates.

- Tata Tea has entered into another joint venture with Lyons Tetley to export value-added tea bags and tea packets.

- The company launched a new brand `Agni' in the economy sector aimed at the loose tea consumers and was well received in the market.

1999

- Tata Tea Ltd (TTL), the country's second largest tea company with the highest number of gardens having an annual production of 64 million kg.

- The Tatas have a joint venture with the Tetley group in India, Two of Tata Tea's subsidiaries-Consolidated Coffee and Asian Coffee-are major players in the Asian market, and will now spearhead the group's expansion in the coffee business.

- Tata Tea's current joint venture with Tetley would cease to operate and in all probability be merged with the larger group.

- Another New brand `Lucky Cup' a premium dust variety tea was launched in selected South Indian states during February.

2000

- The Company will issue 75,98,000 GDSs at a price of US$9.87 per GDS which is equivalent to Rs 430 per GDS.

- The Company alongwith its wholly owned subsidiary, Tata Tea Inc. USA and the present shareholders of the Tetley Group of UK have signed an agreement in London for the acquisition of 100% of the shareholding of the Tetley Group.

- In March, the company acquired through a subsidiary company the entire shareholding of the Tetley Group Ltd., UK which has made the company a significant player in the global tea industry.

- The Company issued 75,98,000 Global Depository Shares at a price of US$ 9.87 per GDS which was fully subscribed.

- The Company and Rabobank International are jointly conducting roadshows in Mumbai and London to syndicate the Dollar 165m of senior debt facilities that has been raised to fund the acquisition of the Tetley group.

- The Company holds 60 million shares of Tata Tea (GB) Ltd. representing 85.7% of the paid-up share capital of Tata Tea (GB) Ltd. and the balance 14.3% is held by the company's wholly owned subsidiary Tata Tea Inc.

- The Company has proposed to introduce an employees' stock option scheme (ESOS).

- Tata Tea Ltd has drawn up plans to market packet tea under the newly-acquired Tetley brand in India, West Asia, the Confederation of Independent States and Russia.

- T Siganporia is to takeover as the Tata Tea managing director of the company.

2001

- Former Glaxo India Managing Director Homi R Khusrokhan will take charge as the new managing director of Tata Tea.

2002

-Tata Tea's acquisition of Tetley Group is turning out to be a success and the Tatas feel 'comfortable with the acquisition'. Tetley has performed extremely well in the last fiscal. It is now number one in the UK.

-Tata Tea appoints consultancy firm BCG to guide on integration process with Tetley.

-Tata Tea relaunched Chakra Gold, its brand of premium dust tea in southern markets with improved flavour and aroma.

2003

-Tata Tea will bifurcate plantation business from branded tea business and set them as 2 separate stategiv business units.

- Mr U M Rao has ceased to be nominee director of General Insurance Corporation of India Ltd. Appointment of Mr UM Rao as an additional non-executive director of the company

-Tata Tea Ltd. appoints Deutsche Bank as the Depository

2004

-The Chennai-based FAL Industries has seen Tata Tea making an exit from it. Tata Tea had a 5.3 per cent stake in FAL. On February 6, it sold off its holding of 2,41,659 shares through off-market spot deals.

-Sets up country's first-ever tea museum at Nullathanni Estate in Munnar

-Tata tea rolls out 'Select Finest Assam' tea in UAE

-Tata Tea has appointed Sangeeta Talwar as the executive director of the company

2005

-Tata Tea launches new brand `Tata Tea Agni'.