Goodricke owner enters financial services business

Kolkata: UK’s Camellia Plc, which enjoys a 74% stake in tea major Goodricke Group, is teeing off banking and financial services operations in the country for the first time through its London-based wholly owned subsidiary Duncan Lawrie Ltd.

The group, which got the green signal from the Reserve Bank of India for launching the financial services business, opened its first representative office in Kolkata on Tuesday.

With core interests in tea, the UK group has lined up plans to increase its tea production in the country through the acquisition route.

It proposes to raise production from 33 million kg to 50 million kg through acquisitions of tea estates in Assam.

PJ Field, chairman, Goodricke Group, said on the sidelines of the company’s annual general meeting, “Through the representative office, high networth individuals (HNIs) could invest in stocks that are listed in UK and the whole of European region. We will also help them to invest in stocks listed in the US and Far East to some extent.”

Field, who is also the MD of Camellia’s banking and financial services and heads Duncan Lawrie, said, “We want to test the Indian market before we expand our footprint in the country.”

Duncan Lawrie is a private bank that provides service to individuals, companies, charities and trusts. It offers services such as investment management, financial planning, offshore services and trust and estate planning.

On the tea business in India, A N Singh, MD & CEO of Goodricke Group, said, “The group’s total production is 33 million kg as of now. We are interested to acquire tea estates in Assam and will acquire estates at the right time and opportunity. The aim is to achieve 50 million kg in the shortest possible time.”

Meanwhile Goodricke has decided to increase its presence in instant tea and packet tea categories.

According to the CEO, the company has set a target to increase its packet teas from 6 million kg at present to 10 million kg by 2012.

Source: DNA