Goodricke Group is planning to engage in co-branding exercises to promote its brands. The company, which is into cultivation and manufacture of tea with an output of around 20 million kg, has 17 estates in Darjeeling and Dooars in North Bengal and in Assam.

“This is part of our strategy to convert our product from a commodity to a brand,” Managing Director and CEO A. N. Singh told The Hindu. The company, which has already launched an initiative in this direction with a local bakery goods manufacturer with a major market share, is planning to take this forward.

“We have had success with our initial association with BiskFarm where they sold satchets containing our leaf-teas. This boosted our sales. We now plan to have co-branding exercise where they will distribute our product in markets where they are strong and we will do the reverse in markets where we are strong.”

Goodricke, at present, sells a mere 5.5 million kg of packet tea, while the balance is sold through auctions and private sales. “We aim to take this figure to 10 in three years”, Mr. Singh said. Plans are also afoot to tie up with major tea marketer, Wagh Bakhri, for marketing iced tea powder. Pointing out that the company was planning a 15 per cent growth in its distribution network this year, Mr. Singh said that this also meant entering new markets where Goodricke had a minimal or nil presence. “Goodricke, which is present mostly in the rural and semi-urban markets, now plans to move to the urban centres in a big way and it will occupy a greater shelf space at the malls from now.”

“You will soon get Goodricke teas in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and New Delhi, besides Kolkata, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh, where it has a strong presence.

Goodricke, which is 74 per cent owned by two UK-based companies, closed 2011 with sales of Rs.457.55 crore (Rs.399.31 crore) with a PAT of Rs.37.42 crore which was lower than the 2010 profit of Rs.45 crore.

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