The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Infinitea stirs growth potion
Infinitea outlet in Calcutta. Picture by Rashbehari Das

Calcutta, April 14: Soongachi Tea Industries Private Limited wants to open outlets of Infinitea ' its tea room chain ' in other Southeast Asian countries, starting with Sri Lanka, in the next five years. The company, which owns gardens in Darjeeling and the Dooars, had opened its first tea room in Bangalore. In Calcutta, it launched the first tea room today and four more will be opned in the next two years. This will be followed by outlets in Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai.

“The chain was promoted to popularise Darjeeling tea in other parts of the country. The premises are modelled on tea rooms of the UK. Each store set up at an investment of around Rs 1 crore can seat 100 people and has a super-built area of 5000 sq ft,” said Shiv K. Saria, managing director of Soongachi Tea. It would take two-and-a-half to three years for each outlet to break even, Saria added. Of the 89 varieties of tea served, around 90 per cent are from the company’s gardens. The Assam and the south Indian varieties are outsourced.

Soongachi will invest Rs 6 crore in the next two to three years in this segment through a mix of internal accruals and debt, Saria said. In Calcutta, the first outlet is at Poddar Court. Others would come up at Sector V, South City and Jadavpur, Park Street, City Centre II, New Town and Forum II near Science City.

Team from Pakistan

A 15-member Pakistan tea delegation will visit India from April 15 to 22. It will be in Calcutta from April 17 to 19 and hold meetings with the Tea Board, Indian Tea Association, Tea Association of India and the Indian Merchant Tea Exporters Forum.

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