Joekels is third largest player in the country

Our Bureau

Mumbai, Oct. 5

The Tetley Group, a subsidiary of Tata Tea, has signed an agreement to acquire a 33 per cent stake in the South African tea company, Joekels Tea Packers. The cost of the deal has not been disclosed though it is being funded by the Tetley Group.

Joekels is the third largest player in the South African tea market with a five per cent market share (in value terms). Its turnover is put at $5 million. The company is owned and run by Mr Jonathan Kelsey and Mr Joe Swart, who founded it in 1994. Joekels manufactures and sells a strong portfolio of brands spanning a range of tea drinking segments.

Its key brands are Phendula Tips, Rooibos Laager, the economy Tea Time range, Tea4kidz, with special blends for children, and a recent launch, San Aqua, which is a Rooibos ice tea.

Joekels will be licensed to sell Tetley branded products in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. The Tetley brands will be made at their factory in Pinetown, Kwazulu Natal province.

In a statement, Mr Ken Pringle, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Tetley Group, said: "This acquisition is yet another development in our plan to grow the Tata Group's tea business around the world. It establishes a presence for Tetley in South Africa and some of its neighbouring countries. Joekels is a well-run company and the new investment will accelerate Joekels growth."

According to Mr Hemant B. Patel, Lead Analyst, Enam Securities, "This may seem like a small acquisition but in the long run, the Tetley group is to firm up its position as a global player in the black and speciality markets.''

Tata Tea scrip closed at Rs 737 on Thursday, up by 0.04 per cent over Wednesday's closing price of Rs 736.70.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 6, 2006)
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