The Assam Company, formed during the British Raj by a group of Britons to acquire, as going concerns, six Sterling tea companies, is today controlled by the Bermuda-based NRI, Mahendra Mehta. The company, which is the oldest tea company in the world, changed its name in 1989 from Assam Company (India) to its present one. In 1992, it opened its international division in Delhi under the banner Assam International. This unit exports shrimps, tuna fish, surimi, fish meal, rice extractions and soya meal. The objective of this division is to create a new commercial unit, separate from the company's core business of tea. In 1992, it set up a financial division, which is engaged in various money market operations and financial services, including merchant banking and mutual funds. During 1999, tea export, almost throughout the world, witnessed a decline. The position was made worse through the sluggish demand in the CIS countries. These resulted in fall in tea prices in the international markets leading to a somewhat difficult environment in the export arenas.