Wagh Bakhri Tea (WBT) Group, which owns the 80-year-old Good Morning brand, has decided to acquire tea gardens in eastern India to secure supplies of quality teas, Chairman and Managing Director, Gujarat Tea Processors & Packers Ltd. (GTPPL), Piyush Desai, said. GTPPL owns the WBT brand.
WBT has a 10 per cent share of the all-India market for packet teas and an overwhelming presence in Gujarat, one of the highest tea drinking states. It also has presence in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh. It entered the tea business in 1919.
Consumers were increasingly being deprived of the taste of high quality premium tea varieties as most of it was getting exported with only a small quantity being supplied to the domestic market, Mr. Desai said adding that companies such as his were being forced to import premium teas from Sri Lanka and Kenya.
The Rs.750-crore turnover company has five brands with price points ranging from Rs.200 a kg to Rs.900 a kg for the premium Darjeeling teas.
He said the company was keen to buy a tea group with 4-6 gardens with a production of three million kg in the first phase.
“The gardens will have to be either in Assam or in West Bengal from where we source 80 per cent of our teas,” Mr. Desai said.
Indications are that funds would not be an obstacle as talks have been held with private equity firms.
He said that although the company had also launched a brand for meeting the demand for organic tea, lack of supplies was a major problem as only 50 tea producers out of the nearly 5,000 produce organic teas.