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Beeyu eyeing tea gardens in Sri Lanka

By Our Special Correspondent

KOLKATA, JAN. 10. Beeyu Overseas Ltd, which is planning to emerge as one of the top three tea producers in South India, is planning to acquire tea factories in Sri Lanka, the company Chairman, B. P. Singh, said.

Addressing a press meet, he said that Beeyu was planning to send a team to Sri Lanka to scout for the proposed acquisition. "We are ideally looking at buying a bottling factory after which we will start buying leaf from growers,'' he said. An investment of about Rs. 2 crores would be required for this project.

He said that with an annual manufacturing facility of 3,000 tonnes in Ooty, Tamil Nadu, the city-headquartered Beeyu was among the top ten producers in South India now. The capacity is proposed to be augmented to 9,000 tonnes by 2006. He claimed that a special feature of the expansion programme is that the Ooty factory will be the first of its kind to make 5,000 tonnes of CTC and 4,000 tonnes of orthodox tea under one shed.

Moreover in view of the economies of scale, cost of conversion from green leaf to black leaf will be reduced from the standard Rs. 12 to Rs. 8 a kg. In tandem with the expansion, the company, which had its presence only in the export market, proposes to begin domestic sales too. The expansion projects will involve a total capital outlay of Rs. 13 crores of which Rs. 10 crores will come from a public issue with the remaining being financed by debt.

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