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Tea major B&A Ltd ventures into retail segment

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The company’s retail foray has begun with ‘Gatoonga’ brand by tapping the Assam market 

New Delhi: For the first time in its over-100-year history, B&A Ltd has forayed into the retail segment through its ‘Gatoonga’ brand of black tea, a top company official said.

The brand was launched in Assam on Saturday, with the company looking to tap the market in the home state before entering other parts of the country, B&A Ltd Managing Director Somnath Chatterjee said.

“The company’s retail foray has begun with ‘Gatoonga’ brand by tapping the Assam market and it will gradually expand across India based on a demand-driven growth strategy,” he said.

B&A Ltd Deputy Managing Director Dhruba Jyoti Dowerah said the company’s parent group had four verticals previously, and the retail branding being the fifth one.

The existing verticals are tea manufacturing and processing, packaging, tea tourism and broking.

B&A Ltd is the listed flagship company of the Rs 300-crore Barooahs & Associates Group and has descended from Barasali Tea Company Ltd, which was founded in 1915.

The company currently has 11 tea estates in upper Assam locations and produced 5.5 million kgs of black tea last year.

Chatterjee said the Group has rolled out a Rs 50-crore capex plan for a pan-India growth strategy, under which it recently acquired Moheema tea estate in Golaghat district.

This is the first acquisition by the company in over six decades, he said.

“For the first time in sixty years, the B&A Group has prepared a roadmap for a pan-India growth strategy with new acquisitions and diversification into the branded retail tea market. The company will invest around Rs 50 crore in the next seven years as part of its growth and expansion strategy,” he added.

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