India tea giant Tata Tea, which owns the Tetley tea brand, has closed a factory in Australia. The company claims that the move is designed to increase the capacity of its Sri Lankan joint venture packaging company, which serves the Australian, Polish and Russian tea markets.
The closure is part of an overall rationalisation programme that may result in further job losses. Vice-chairman R K Krishna Kumar indicated that the firm's green leaf operations may have to be cut back.
However, Tata Tea says that it is set to expand its operations in the US through its Tetley brand. Tetley has two joint venture companies for packaging tea within the country.
The company is also looking at new markets such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Dubai and other West Asian countries.
In addition, the group is also contemplating new brands in the ready-to-drink (RTD) and flavoured-tea categories. Tata Tea has started test marketing RTD teas in Canada, France and the UK.