Tata Tea plans JV to boost India brand in Russia

July 30, 2007
Tata Tea is teaming up with Tata Coffee and a few other institutions to aggressively promote Indian tea brands in Russia. Russia has traditionally been one of the strongest markets for Indian teas and the move is aimed at regaining India's market share in Russia.

Tata Tea managing director Percy Siganporia said that plans were still in a fluid state but confirmed such a proposal has been floated. "A new enterprise will be formed which will promote Indian tea brands in Russia," Siganporia said. He, however, did not divulge further details. Siganporia was speaking to reporters on Saturday at the Indian Tea Association's annual general meeting.

Union minister of state for commerce Jairam Ramesh, who was also present in the ITA meeting, said that Russia is currently the second biggest importer of both tea and coffee from India. Russia accounted for 20 per cent of India's coffee exports during 2006-07, close behind Italy at 27 per cent. It imported 32 million kg of Indian tea of India's total export basket of 185 million kg.

While Russia, Iraq and Pakistan have remained a stronghold for India's tea exports over the years, the Union commerce ministry has identified new markets in Egypt and Iran. The ministry is keen to set up a tea marketing office in Cairo for which it has written to East India Hotels Ltd, which currently operates a luxury hotel in Cairo, seeking help.

"We are hopeful that the tea marketing centre will be a reality soon," Ramesh said. Earlier, the ministry had planned to set up a similar centre at the Air-India office in Cairo but had to back out owing to objections from the landlord.