James Finlays ups capacity at its tea bagging plant

July 11 (LBO) – James Finlays has upped capacity at its tea factory, turning out bio-degradable tea bags to break into new markets in the United States and Europe.

Finlays is about the sixth largest tea bag exporter in the country and the largest exporter to Japan, producing 1.5 million tea bags a day.

With three new tea bagging machines installed at a cost of 200 million rupees, capacity will be upped by 40 percent, Ravindra Ratnapala, Business Development Manager at Finlays said on Wednesday.

The new tea bagging machines called the IMA C 27 can produce up to 250 bags a minute and the bags are also completely biodegradable, with no metal staples or glue based heat seals.

“We are planning to go into more developed markets in the US and Europe and they are looking for more environmentally friendly products. The bags produced by these machines are completely biodegradable unlike before,” Ratnapala said.

“By getting into sophisticated markets, we can effectively compete and command high prices.” Finlays also sells nine to ten million kilos of bulk tea a year.

The government recently scrapped income tax charges on earnings from tea bag exports to encourage value addition of tea before it is shipped off.

Sri Lanka produces little over 300 million kilos of tea each year, but is still largely a bulk tea supplier, with little value addition.

James Finlays & Company is a diversified conglomerate with interests in tea, healthcare, insurance, aviation, warehousing and also represents several global packaging companies.

-LBO Newsdesk-