Mumbai: Tata Coffee Ltd (TCL) has entered into an agreement with the Ugandan government to set up plant for producing instant coffee in that country. The proposed plant with a 3,600 tonnes-per-annum capacity would involve investments of around Rs 70 crore, M H Ashraf, managing director of the company said.
He said the setting up of the plant is expected to start after three months. "We have signed the agreement with the Ugandan government. Now we are in discussions with people who supply the equipment (of German technology type) and also the contractors," he said, adding, "We have to get permissions like environment and things like that. We expect them to take about three months after which we will start work," he said.
He said the total investment in the Ugandan venture is likely to be in the region of Rs 70 crore. "We are hoping to market it in EU and China. Uganda has a special relationship with these countries. As a least-developed country, they (Uganda) don't have to pay taxes.... import duties. That's why we picked up Uganda," he said.
Tata Coffee is the largest coffee plantation company in Asia with estates located in Coorg, Hassan and Chickmagalur districts of Karnataka. TCL has around 8,000 acres under crop, producing over 9,000 tonnes of coffee annually.
TCL also has a state-of-the-art curing works at Kudige near Kushalnagar in Karnataka with a curing capacity of 22,000 tonnes per annum. This unit has been awarded the prestigious certificate of approval for quality standards ISO9002 and is the first curing industry in Asia to receive this certification.
The company has augmented its production capacity of 2,000 tonnes per annum of instant coffee to 2,500 tonnes through contract manufacturing operations.
TCL also has five major brands - Coorg 100% Pure Coffee and Coorg Double Roast (coffee chicory mix) in R & G segment and Tata Cafe for the North and Tata Kapi in the South and Mr Bean. TCL has firmed up a number of initiatives to enable it to steadily move up the coffee value chain thereby improving its margins.
TCL is currently the exclusive supplier of coffee blends to Barista for its entire range of offerings. TCL is also the first plantation company selected by Star Bucks as suppliers in India.
TCL has also initiated the process of setting up a joint venture company with its Russian partners for marketing its Instant ioffee in that country