Sri Lanka tea exporter to expand in Russia

Mar 01, 2011 (LBO) – Riston Group, a big Sri Lankan tea exporter to Russia, plans to expand production there with a new factory and also penetrate other markets, company officials said. The firm intends to set up a factory with a floor area of 150,000 square feet this year, which will help to cut costs and spend more on brand building, Riston chairman Nishantha Perera said.

The company says it is the fifth largest tea brand in Russia, the biggest buyer of Sri Lankan tea, and has production plants in both countries.

Perera told a news conference Russian tea consumption has been stagnant in recent years but that he wants to increase his market share and also export his brand of tea to other countries.

Riston has set a target of selling 4.3 million kilos of tea in Russia in 2011, up from sales of 3.8 million kilos in 2010.

The company sold teas worth 65 million US dollars in 2010 in Russia and aims to increase sales by 26 percent to 82 million dollars in 2011, Perera said.

“Riston tea almost exclusively uses pure Ceylon tea – 95 percent of our products are made with Ceylon tea,” Perera said.

Riston imported 4.89 million kilos of tea from Sri Lanka in 2010