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Goodricke tastes instant success

Calcutta, April 3: Goodricke group’s loss-making instant tea plant at Aibheel in North Bengal has turned the corner. There are signs it will ramp up supply by 50 per cent to meet the growing appetite of Coca-Cola, which sells the output under the Georgia brand.

Goodricke is counting on instant tea to emerge as a major revenue earner in future. Addressing shareholders at the 27th annual general meeting, chairman P. A. Leggat said: “The instant tea plant has seen a breakthrough and the plant has recorded its highest production since inception, with exports to Japan, Holland Taiwan and the UK. The company has forayed into the US market. The tie-up with Coca-Cola for the domestic market is another achievement. The plant will help bring profits in future.”

The company currently produces 400 tonnes per annum of instant tea and plans are afoot to increase it to 600 tonnes per annum in the current year. Coca-Cola procures 150 tonnes of instant tea from Goodricke. “We expect the demand to grow by 20-25 per cent per annum. Keeping this in mind, we have decided to expand the volumes at our plant at Aibheel,” company managing director K. S. David said.

Goodricke, like other tea firms, is facing the problem of high cost of production. The company is in talks with the unions at its Darjeeling plantations for a wage freeze. “Last week, I had a discussion with the unions there. They understand the problem and said they would look into it. Let’s see what happens,” David said. The company has three gardens in Darjeeling — Thurbo, Badamtam and Barnesbeg.

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