East India Company again to trade in tea, coffee in London
08 Feb 2010
East India Company, the trading company which traces its history to 400 years back to the times the company ruled India, will soon open outlets to sell tea, coffee, spices and fabrics in London.
The company was bought in 2004 by Indian-origin businessman Sanjiv Mehta, 48, who now seeks to steer the company to conquer the retail market with the opening of its flagship store in Mayfair, in central London, this year.
The company has plans for more outlets in India, the Middle East and later in Japan, Russia and the US.
The company will also sell furniture, chocolates, leather goods, fruit pickles and sushi. Mehta is, however, clear about giving the outlets a contemporary feel that will at the same time be redolent of its past.
The company was founded in 1600 by Queen Elizabeth I, but was dissolved on 1 January 1874 after the Government of India Act transferred its powers to the Crown.
"It accomplished a work such as in the whole history of the human race no other company ever attempted and as such is likely to attempt in the years to come," the Times wrote in 1874.
Mehta acquired all the shares of the company in 2004 and invested £20 million in association with other investors in a bid to develop the company, which continues to be one of the most recognised brands in the world.