Sunset for Balmer Lawrie tea business on Sept 30

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The 146-year-old tea business of Balmer Lawrie & Co Ltd will see sunset on September 30. Reuters The 146-year-old tea business of Balmer Lawrie & Co Ltd will see sunset on September 30. Reuters
SummaryThe 146-year-old tea business of Balmer Lawrie & Co Ltd will see sunset on September 30.

The 146-year-old tea business of Balmer Lawrie & Co Ltd will see sunset on September 30.

"There will be no production of tea from September 30," Balmer Lawrie Chairman and Managing Director Virendra Sinha said today.

"The turnover was just Rs 3 crore last year from tea. It was taking a lot of management time without revenue," he said.

"The company did not own any tea garden. We used to blend and pack teas. We have few machinery valued around Rs 1 crore and a warehouse in Kolkata which will be utilised in the warehousing business," Sinha said.

The company had two brands Tarang (tea bag) and The Tea (Darjeeling tea).

Tea was incurring losses year on year and the management could not revive it. The possibility of setting up a joint venture by roping in strategic partner also failed.

The final attempt to revive the tea business to keep up the legacy Balmer Lawrie was taken in 2010, but did not yield a positive result.

Tea was one of important businesses of Balmer & Lawrie which was set up in partnership by two enterprising Scotsmen Stephen George Balmer and Alexander Lawrie at Kolkata in February, 1867.

It is now a Mini-Ratna I Public Sector Enterprise under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas with a turnover of Rs 2,762 crore.

The company has offered VRS scheme to the 22 remaining employees of the division with September 30 being the last date.

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