COLOMBO (EconomyNext) –Sri Lanka’s Hayleys group plans to start commercial manufacturing of instant tea from tea extracts at a new plant later this year aiming at selling more value-added products.
The conglomerate has set up a subsidiary called Hayleys Global Beverages Ltd. for the processing of instant tea, the group’s latest venture.
The unit will use Ceylon tea-based extracts to make instant tea powders, concentrates and tea aromas and flavours with manufacturing.
“We have invested in a tea extracts manufacturing plant which is expected to commence commercial operations in 2015/16,” Hayleys Chairman and Chief Executive Mohan Pandithage told shareholders in the firm’s annual report.
“We believe this will promote value added tea in developed markets which value the positive health impacts of tea.”
Hayleys is pursuing growth in value added tea exports, particularly instant tea, given the downturn in commodity markets with problems in key markets like Russia and the Middle East reducing prices at the Colombo auction.
The group is among the country’s largest plantation sector operators, with its subsidiaries
Kelani Valley Plantations and Talawakelle Tea Estates collectively accounting for 3.9 percent and 3.4 percent of Sri Lanka’s tea and rubber production.
Hayleys is also involved in the blending and export of value added tea, exporting its Mabroc range of branded tea to over 50 destinations.
“The short to medium outlook for the sector remains challenging, given geopolitical tensions in key buying markets and the anticipated fall in commodity prices,” the report said.