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Assam Co aims for NSE listing

Kohinoor Mandal

Kolkata , May 6

THE City-based tea Assam Company Ltd, a member of the Duncan Macneil group, hopes to get its scrip listed on the National Stock Exchange.

The company, which claims to be the world's oldest tea company, being established way back in 1839, has also decided to hold back its proposed rights issue as the stock market is witnessing much volatility.

According to Mr A. Chowdhary, Vice-President (Finance) of Assam Company, the management will reconsider the agenda of the rights issue in future but no date has been finalised yet.

Talking to Business Line, he explained the rationale for deferring the rights issue. "There is too much of volatility both in the market and in our scrip. The market sentiments are not conducive for a rights issue. So, we decided to hold back the rights issue," Mr Chowdhary said.

At present, the shares of Assam Company are listed on the Calcutta Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange.

Today, the scrip closed at Rs 28.20 on the BSE. The 52-week high and low are Rs 44 and Rs 10.85. The scrip has been traded in huge volumes.

"Though our scrip is listed on the BSE and the CSE, still we realise that there is a need to get listed at the NSE. That will further increase the scrip's interest among the potential investors. So, we are looking forward to the NSE listing as early as possible," he said.

Regarding the proposed rights issue, whose size would be around Rs 10-15 crore (including the premium), the company is yet to finalise the merchant banker. Mr Chowdhary said the formalities would be worked out in due course of time.

Assam Company, which recently introduced the concept of tea bars in India, currently owns 19 gardens in Assam. During 2002-03 the company registered a turnover of Rs 160 crore. However, the organisation has changed its accounting year to January-December.

The tea bars of Assam Company are called Camelia. It is a restaurant sort of a place where snacks are also offered to the customers apart from different varieties of teas.

By the end of December 2003, five outlets of Camelia were opened and all areowned by the company. The management hoped to increase the Camelia network both within and outside the country through the franchisee model.

A senior official of the organisation said Assam Company has identified Camelia as the future business prospect and hopes to generate approximately 20-25 per cent of the company's total revenues from it.

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