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Wednesday, May 15, 2002

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Eveready sells Assam tea garden to Rossell

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EVEREADY Industries India Ltd, the flagship company of Mr Brij Mohan Khaitan, has sold its Assam-based Romai tea garden to Rossell Tea for Rs 13.91 crore.

According to the official spokesperson of Eveready Industries, the company has till date garnered around Rs 80 crore from the sale of its tea gardens.

"The total amount, along with this Rs 13.91-crore, will be used for repaying the debts of the company. This is a part of an overall strategy worked out by the company sometime ago,'' the spokesperson said.

It may be noted that Eveready Industries, a major in tea and battery industry, is suffering heavily due to high interest burden and huge debt exposure. The company recently renegotiated its deals with banks and financial institutions and restructured its debts.

For the year ended March 31, 2001, the company's total debt exposure was Rs 849.27 crore and its annual interest burden was Rs 55.33 crore.

As a part of the total strategy, it also decided to sell off all its unremunerative tea gardens. Hence, it exited from the Darjeeling tea industry and sold off four gardens in Assam, excluding Romai.

Eveready Industries also sold off one of its gardens located in the Dooars region of West Bengal.

For the year ended March 31, 2002, the company produced about 37 million kg of tea, of which around six million is sold as packet tea and the rest in bulk form.

The tea brands of Eveready Industries are Tez, Jaago and Premium Gold.

Of late, it has decided to reduce its exposure in bulk tea and concentrate more on branded packet tea.

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