Jay Shree Tea & Industries Ltd, a prominent player in the tea industry and part of the BK Birla Group, has appointed merchant bankers for acquiring tea estates in Uganda and Kenya in the short term.
The company has asked the ICICI Bank-led merchant bankers to shortlist estates in the African nations that have an annual capacity of 15-20 million kgs. The company is also eyeing similar acquisitions in India, according to Jay Shree Tea chairman BK Birla.
Birla said that the probable acquisitions in Africa would help the company in remaining competitive. However, many tea companies have so far refrained from buying tea estates in Kenya because of the political instability there.
The Khaitans-controlled McLeod Russel India Ltd or Tata Tea for instance, has all made acquisitions in countries like Vietnam or Sri Lanka.
Jay Shree Tea managing director DP Maheshwari said that acquiring tea estates in India is a tough task since there is hardly any tea estate that is up for sale. However, he did not give any details on how much the company could spend on the possible acquisition. Jay Shree owns tea estates in Assam, Darjeeling, Dooars and south India.