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Tata Coffee to focus on value-added timber products

The Hindu Business Line - September 1, 2006
Tata Coffee, as a part of its plan to optimise the utilisation of its captive timber resources, has entered into timber value addition for manufacturing plywood and block boards under the brand name "Tata Conswood". The timber is harvested on sustainable basis every year as part of estate cultural practice and maintaining the ecological balance. Tata Coffee's estates are spread over 18,454 acres (7,471 hectares) across Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Mr M H Ashraff, managing director, Tata Coffee, said the company was focused on developing value-added timber products and the valuation of timber resources was done internally. The company has designed and developed fire retardant boards and sound absorbing panels and is manufacturing them on a small scale. These products are being procured by Tata Motors for use in building coaches, he said.

Further, Tata Coffee is in the process of setting up a larger facility in Mysore to commercially produce fire check doors and wooden flooring, Mr Ashraff said. "We plan to invest about Rs 9 crore in the Mysore facility, which should be operational by the end of this financial year," Mr Ashraff said.

Tata Coffee believes that the new products would add significant value to its low-end timber and will be the future growth driver for the profitability of the timber division, which saw a 210-per-cent growth in profits in FY2006.

Coffee contributes to around 85 per cent of Tata Coffee's revenues, while the rest comes from pepper, tea and estate supplies such as timber.