Tata Coffee Ltd (formerly Consolidated Coffee), a subsidiary of Tata Tea and one of Asia's largest plantation company cultivates coffee pepper, oranges, paddy, cardamom and other plantation and agricultural products. The company's estates are at Coorg in Karnataka, at an elevation of 3000 ft. It also supplies manure and other estate requirements.
As Forward Integration the company set up a cofee curing works at Kodagu, Karnataka in 1983-84. The company by acquiring Glinlorna Tea Estate at Kudige diversified into Tea. Further the second diversification into manufacture of Mechanical time-pieces is made with the acquisition of bombay based Sifco, a JV company between Favre-Leuba, Swiz and Jaz, France and a time-piece manufacturer in 1988. The company became a subsidiary of Tata Tea when the latter acquired around a 52% stake in the company in 1990.
The last decade of 20th Century witnessed the company actively engaged in branded/ packaged cofee business. It launched Coorg Coffee, a 100% pure coffee, in Karnataka and neighbouring states, in Apr.'93. Further it has also launched instant coffee bags for the north-Indian market which is not familiar with south-Indian filtered coffee. The company has the advantage of being able to use Tata Tea's distribution system. Its main advantage lies in the fact that it is a plantation company and is thus able to hold the price line if it so desires, unlike multinationals which pay market prices for their raw material.
During 1999-2000, Asian Coffee (ACL), Coffee Lands (CLL), Charagni (CL) and Veerarajendra Estates (VEL) amalgamated with the company. Brand Equity Business Promotion Agreement (BE-BP Agreement) was executed by the company with M/s Tata Sons.
The company acquired a coffee estate in Kodagu, Karnataka. Further during Nov. 2003 the company has finalised an agreement to acquire High Hill Company India Pvt. Ltd., which owns an 3600 MT Instant Coffee facility at Jeyamangalam in Theni District of Tamil Nadu. The amalgamation of Conscofe Investments, a wholly owned subsidiary of the company with itself was completed with the approval of the arrangement by Hight Court of Karnataka.
During 2004-2005, the process relating to acquisition of Highhill Coffee India Private Ltd was completed and consequently Highhill Coffee India Private Ltd became a Whollyowned subsidiary of Tata Coffee with effect from 23.11.2004. The company divested its entire stake in Barista Coffee Company Ltd, to the Sterling Group, during the under review.
During 2005-2006, the company acquired 5 Tea estates and 1 Coffee estates located in the Anamallais region in Tamil Nadu and Kerala from Tata Tea Ltd. The Instant Coffee Facility at Theni, Tamil Nadu acquired by the company has started normal operations during the year. The company during the year entered into an agreement with E&E Varfahrenstechik GmbH, Germany for supply, installation and commissioning of a state of the art Freeze Drying Plant capable of producing 2000 MT of a Freeze Dyed Coffee. The Civil works has commenced and the first shipment of the equipment is expected to receive shortly. The trail production and commercial production is schedule to commence by November 2006 and January 2007 respectively. The project is set up on companies own land adjacent to the Instant coffee manufacturing facility at Theni. The liquid concentrate manufactured at the companies existing facility at Theni will be used as raw materials for Freeze dried coffee.
The company is also in the process of setting up a soluble coffee plant in Uganda under a Joint Venture with Tata Uganda Ltd, Africa, being a large coffee producer.
During 2006-07, the new Freeze Dried Coffee Plant was inaugurated in Theni, Tamil Nadu in March, 2007. This is a state-of-the-art, Plant supplied by E&E Verfahrenstechnik GmbH, Germany and one of the only three plants in the world with a seven belt dryer. The Freeze Dried Coffee segment should help the Division improve its margins going forward, with focus towards manufacture of higher value added products like Freeze Dried Coffee and Agglomerated Coffee with the objective of insulating the Division from commoditization of instant coffee. The Division is also exploring the possibility of launching a Freeze Dried Coffee brand in Russia and CIS Countries.
The Company is proposing to set up a 3600 MT p.a soluble coffee plant in Uganda under a Joint Venture with Tata Uganda Ltd., Kampala, Uganda. For the purpose a new Company by the name of Tata Coffee (Uganda) Limited has been formed in Uganda and an Agreement has been signed between the JV Company and the Ugandan Government. Africa being a large coffee producer, the Joint Venture would be able to source coffee at competitive prices. The Ugandan Government has agreed to provide various incentives /benefits in the form of duties, taxes etc. Uganda, being a Least Developed Country (LDC), also enjoys the 'most favoured nation' status as a result of which certain imports into the European Union from Uganda do not attract any duty. This concession is likely to be extended to value added offerings, which could include Instant Coffee.
During the year the Company entered into a Joint Venture arrangement with Beeyu Overseas Ltd., for the marketing and sale of its instant coffee products in the international Market and in this connection acquired a 51% equity stake in a Joint Venture Company viz. 'Alliance Coffee Limited' consequent to which Alliance has become a subsidiary of the Company. The entire focus of Alliance will be on consolidating the Company's presence in the existing markets, establish new markets and develop brands for the Company's instant coffee products in the International Markets which would go a long way in helping the Division move away from bulk sales to branded sales.
A Gasification Plant is also being set up by the Company at its instant Coffee facility at Theni which will help reduce power and fuel costs to a substantial extent. For the purpose, the Company has entered into an agreement with CICB-Chemicon Pvt. Ltd. The project would be eligible to carbon credit in view of the resultant reduction in emission of green house gases which cause global warming.
During the year, the Company signed a Definitive Agreement to acquire Eight 0' Clock Coffee Company ('EOC'), U.S.A. from Gryphon Investors for a total acquisition price of US$ 220 million.
During the year, Alliance Coffee Limited, Consolidated Coffee Inc, USA, Eight O' Clock Holdings Inc, USA and Eight O' Clock Coffee Company, USA became subsidiaries of the Company. Eight 0' Clock Holdings Inc was merged with Eight O' Clock Coffee Company in April, 2007.