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Thursday, Dec 23, 2004

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Wagh Bakri plans food sector foray

Kohinoor Mandal

Kolkata , Dec. 22

THE Wagh Bakri Group, among the largest regional players in the tea industry with significant market shares in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, is contemplating entering into business involving other food items.

Mr Piyush O. Desai, Chairman of the Wagh Bakri Group, said that the group was studying various opportunities closely. A final decision on the matter is yet to be taken, he said.

According to him, the group would like to set up a food-processing unit in Gujarat and would use its existing marketing network for distribution of the products. He indicated it would be a food business on FMCG lines.

"We would like to reach out to the common man with a product that would be affordable for them but we will not compromise on quality. We would like to maintain the best quality because our brand, Wagh Bakri, stands for quality," Mr Desai told Business Line.

The Wagh Bakri Group has three tea companies within its fold. The first and the oldest (set up in 1917) is Gujarat Tea Depot Co Ltd and it owns the Wagh Bakri brand name.

The second is Standard Tea Processing Co Ltd, which focuses mostly on tea buying and blending. The third company is Gujarat Tea Processors and Packers Ltd and it sells the teas.

The Wagh Bakri Group has registered a turnover of around Rs 190 crore during 2003-04. In the current financial year, 2004-05, the turnover of the group is expected to cross Rs 200 crore.

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