Goodricke sees 2010 tea output at 21 mln kg-exec

KOLKATA, April 13 (Reuters) - Tea plantation firm Goodricke Group (GDRC.BO: Quote, Profile, Research) expects to produce 21 million kg of tea during 2010, compared with 19.5 million kg in 2009, a senior official said on Tuesday.

"The climate is better this year compared to last year, so we should touch 21 million kg this year. Our export target for the current year is at 2 million kg as against 1.8 million kg last year," Chief Executive Officer A.N. Singh told reporters.

The Kolkata-based company, which owns 17 tea gardens across tea growing regions of Darjeeling, Dooars and Assam, is planning to scale up its instant-tea and packet tea business in big way in the present year, he said.

"We have exported 200 tonnes of instant tea during 2009 and this year it is expected to touch 300 tonnes. We are working on launching it across India in a big way by the end of this year," Singh said.

Currently, the company has an installed capacity to produce 600 tonnes of instant tea per annum, he added.

Goodricke sold 6 million kg of packet tea last year and the figure is expected to touch 10 million kg over the next two years, he said.

Goodricke expects the tea prices to trade at 10-15 rupees per kilogram higher during 2010 on rising consumption and demand-supply mismatch, Singh said.

"Currently, the tea prices are trading in the range of 135-150 rupees per kilogram, which is 10-15 rupees higher compared to same period last year. This trend is expected to continue in the remaining part of the season," he said.

Due to adverse weather conditions, India's total production in 2009 stood at 979 million kg, compared with 981 million kg a year ago, according to Tea Board data.

This, coupled with global crop shortage, pushed tea prices up 30 percent on an average during 2009. (Reporting by Niladri Bhattacharya; Editing by Prem Udayabhanu)

Source: Reuters India