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McLeod Russel open to more acquisitions in Assam

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Rules out hiving off 6 Dooars gardens

Kolkata , Sept. 19

The registered office of Doom Dooma Tea Co Ltd, which is now a wholly owned subsidiary of McLeod Russel India Ltd, will first be shifted from Mumbai to Kolkata and subsequently merged with the parent company.

According to Mr Aditya Khaitan, Managing Director of McLeod Russel, the whole process has started and it is likely to be over either by the end of the current financial year or by the beginning of next.

He was talking to reporters after addressing the shareholders at the company's eighth annual general meeting on Tuesday.

Doom Dooma Tea Co, which earlier belonged to Hindustan Lever, was acquired by McLeod Russel in December 2005. The company has four gardens and three factories.

Kolkata the base

The company has also decided to shift the registered office of Williamson Tea Assam Ltd, which earlier belonged to the UK-based Magor group, from Guwahati to Kolkata.

Mr Khaitan said that the company is still open to further acquisitions in Assam and ruled out hiving off the six Dooars gardens, whose performance was not up to the mark. "These gardens have stabilised and there is no need to sell it off," he said.

Meanwhile, the company has decided to retire debts of around Rs 200 crore out its total debt burden of Rs 477 crore. The company has already paid off Rs 50 crore and the remaining Rs 150 crore would be paid off after the issue of QIP (qualified institutions placement).

In the next financial year, the company would be retiring another Rs 100 crore and it would be generated from internal accruals.

During 2006, total tea production of McLeod Russel would be 69 million and the company is hoping to achieve an export target of 25 million kg. For this McLeod Russel is targeting markets such as Egypt, Pakistan and Iran among others.

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