Mumbai: Shares of Tata Tea Ltd, a unit of India’s biggest business group, rose to a 15-month high on speculation the company may use $1.2 billion (Rs4,920 crore) earned from selling a stake in a US beverage maker for overseas acquisitions.
Tata’s shares gained as much as 8.4% and closed at Rs934.10 from the previous close of Rs913.65, the biggest rise in a month. The Kolkata-based company made a profit of $523 million from the sale of its 30% stake in Energy Brands Inc. to Coca-Cola Co., vice-chairman R.K. Krishna Kumar said on 25 May.
Tata wants to invest overseas to increase its share of branded and specialty teas and coffee and reduce a dependence on sales of regular black tea leaves. The group has spent more than $1.3 billion buying assets, including the UK’s Tetley for $407 million in 2000.
“They are unlikely to sit on this cash and may start hunting again for acquisitions to boost growth,” said Deepak Jasani, head of retail research at HDFC Securities Ltd.
The group will look for acquisitions in the US, where sales growth in waters and healthy drinks is outstripping sodas.
Kumar said Tata wants to acquire majority ownership in companies in the areas of ready-to-make coffee and new varieties of tea.