Aug 28, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s HVA foods, which exports ready to drink tea under its “Heladiv” brand, says the company plans to expand more in to Chinese and Indian markets with ready to drink teas to gain a strong foothold.
“Whilst our Chinese operations have progressed to 55 tea cafes and outlets, further expansion is anticipated through HELADIV products being marketed online in China,” Rohan Fernando, chairman of HVA foods told shareholders in the annual report.
“India is still a distant dream, but with contacts established recently we hope to make an entry soon.”
Sri Lanka’s tea exports continued to decline in June 2015 for the eleventh consecutive month due to lower demand from main tea buyers such as Russia and the Middle East, as well as the unit price with the lowest export price of US dollars 4.39 per kg of tea being recorded since September 2012.
Tea exports recorded a drop of 20.1 percent in June this year.
Official data shows Sri Lanka exported 121.9 million US dollar worth tea in June 2015 compared to the 152.6 million US dollar tea exports in the same month last year.
Sri Lanka’s key export markets to which more than 70 percent of Ceylon tea is exported – Russia, Middle East and Ukraine – is in crisis due to military conflict, economic sanctions and depreciation of the Russian rubble. However Fernando says that this situation will ease in coming months.
Economists continuously urge the export industry to add more value and differentiate the products to get a better cut in the global competitive market.
Fernando says both China and India represent nearly 40 percent of the world population and both are tea producing and consuming countries.
“Hence, one cannot afford to ignore these giants in global consumerism however hard it may be to overcome the indirect trade barriers practiced by them,” Fernando said.
“The ongoing discussions on practical implementation of the Free Trade Agreements will gradually open these markets which have an insatiable appetite for food and beverages.”
HVA foods is engaged in the development, manufacture and distribution of tea extract based products, contract packing of teas and franchise operations of tea cafes. It is the owner of the worldwide franchise for the ‘Heladiv’ trade mark.
The company exports or has a presence in 38 countries in North and South America, CIS and Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia, according to the company website.
The company made a loss of 2.4 million rupees for the financial year ended in March 2015 compared to a loss of 17.4 million in 2014.