The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tata Tea set to trim workforce

Calcutta, Sept. 8: Tata Tea plans to reduce the 55,000-odd workforce at its gardens and offices to remain cost competitive.

“We are working on a total package to bring in changes in leaf production. The cut in workforce is part of that. We may have to rationalise the workforce at the plantation levels,” managing director H. R. Khusrokhan said here today.

Some of Tata Tea’s gardens have become unremunerative and the company is working on ways to generate more revenue from them.

“We are working on different models. We may look at bought leaf or even run the gardens on co-operative models,” said vice-chairman R. K. Krishnakumar.

Krishnakumar said the company is eyeing a 22 per cent market share within the next two years. At present, the company enjoys a 19.6 per cent share.

“We plan to launch iced tea under the Tetley brand in India. We want to launch two brands for the mass market,” he added.

The company is also expanding Tetley’s operations in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Russia.

Replying to shareholders’ queries, chairman Ratan Tata said, “We have restructured our accounts by adjusting Rs 41 crore miscellaneous expenditure against the share premium account. We have not fudged the accounts. The restructuring will help the company enhance its earnings per share and reduce the interest burden.”

Haldia Petro

Haldia Petrochemicals has returned Rs 2 crore to Tata Tea. The company had initially invested Rs 11 crore in HPL.

When asked if the Tatas would remain on the HPL board with a minority stake, Ratan Tata said, “Everything is now being worked out by the corporate debt restructuring cell. Let’s see what happens after the restructuring is complete.”

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