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Tata Tea to change name, eyes buys

Tata Tea Ltd, the largest tea manufacturing company in India, is mulling a change in name owing to its increasing non-tea businesses and has lined up a mega Rs 1,700 crore for making major acquisitions soon, reports Jaidev Majumdar.

business Updated: Sep 01, 2009 20:55 IST
Jaidev Majumdar

Tata Tea Ltd, the largest tea manufacturing company in India, is mulling a change in name owing to its increasing non-tea businesses and has lined up a mega Rs 1,700 crore for making major acquisitions soon.

Tata Tea is planning a finanacial integration of its global operations into "one cohesive unit," vice-chairman RK Krishna Kumar told reporters on the sidelines of the annual generation meeting of the company.

He added that the company has been deliberately sitting on a "pile of cash" for the past 18 months to make acquisitions at an opportune time, ideally in the US where Tata Tea does not have a big presence. Tata Tea's global operations are currently based in London.

Tata Tea is the umbrella organisation for several non-tea businesses like health drinks, mineral water and coffee. The company’s non-tea business is roughly 50 per cent at present.

The company is currently studying the tax implications of such a merger process, Tata Tea Chairman Ratan Tata said.

Krishna Kumar sees the “new enterprise” to achieve a consolidated turnover of $10 billion (Rs 49,000 crore) in 5 year's time, up from around $1 billion (Rs 4,900 crore) now.

“Operation integration has already happened with the formation of a virtual global company and the financial integration is currently being considered,” he said

On new products, Ratan Tata said the company’s arm Mount Everst Mineral Water would soon launch a “mass market” bottled water product. At present, Mount Everest sells only premium drinking water, under the brand name Himalaya.