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Camellia Plc 'very interested' in acquiring Assam tea gardens

West Bengal,Business/Economy, Wed, 18 Apr 2012 IANS

Kolkata, April 18 (IANS) UK-based Camellia Plc, which owns a 74 percent stake in tea major Goodricke Group, Wednesday said it was 'very interested' in buying out tea gardens in Assam to expand its business of the brew in India.


"We are interested in expansion. If we can acquire more gardens in Assam, we would be doing so," Camellia Plc joint managing director Peter J. Field told mediapersons here.


Field was speaking on the sidelines of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Kolkata-based Goodricke Group.


"Our particular interest is the acquisition of gardens is Assam. We are very interested in Assam," he said.


The company, which has 17 tea gardens in India, currently owns only two in Assam.


On the size of the possible acquisition, Field said Camellia was looking for gardens of the average size of 600 hectares to 1,000 hectares.


Goodricke is likely to scale down its initial tea production target this year due to poor rainfall in North India.


The company had clocked a total production of 17 million kg of tea in 2011.


MD and CEO A.N. Singh said the company, which was initially aiming to produce 18 million kg in 2012, would have to scale it down to 17.5 million kg due to deficient rainfall.


He said the tea maker was aiming 25 percent growth in tea exports in this year over the last year.


"Our major exports are basically to Japan, US and Europe. We export top quality Assam and Darjeeling teas to Europe," Singh added.


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