Tanganda Tea Company, one of Zimbabwe’s oldest companies is expected to relist on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) tomorrow, after a 14-year absence from the local bourse.
The largest producer, packer and distributor of tea in the country has a history of success and a forward-looking leadership.
Tanganda has transformed itself over the years from a tea business to a diversified agricultural export business making it an attractive investment.
It now comprises five estates namely, New Year’s Gift, Ratelshoek, Jersey and Zona and Tingamira (formerly Avontuur/Petrunella).
The company has expanded into macadamia and avocado farming, coffee production as well as spring water bottling.
The agro-processor sits on a rich history that dates back to 1893. Its estates started in the area along the Tanganda River, now famously known as the New Year’s Gift Estate.
The site was where the first commercial tea was started in 1925 by a retired tea planter Arthur Ward from Assam with the help of his friend Grafton Phillips. By 1928 under the supervision of Mrs Florence Phillips, the New Year’s Gift estate was producing irrigated tea on the 3,5 hectares.
The positive response by tea experts in Great Britain and India led Messrs Ward and Phillips to form a company, Ward and Phillips (Private) Limited. The name later changed to Rhodesia Tea Estates while Ratelshoek Tea Estate and Jersey and Zona Estate were added to the family.
The Meikles family, a significant investor in the business in the 1930s, then acquired a majority and controlling stake in 1943. The name changed to Tanganda Tea Company Limited in 1976 after the river where the journey started.
Said Tanganda chief executive Timothy Fennell: “The business has three operating divisions, the agriculture, the beverage and the corporate and administration divisions. It speaks to our shared vision to be the leading blue-chip agricultural company in Africa.
“In this regard, the business has made it its mission to build a highly cohesive management team and systems, build towards preferred, iconic and high-quality brands, maintain high moral responsibility to its staff, community and the environment, pay a consistent and growing dividend to shareholders and benchmark itself against the top 20 African agribusiness companies.”
This progression has been a significant boost for the business culminating in Tanganda being a standalone business. The management sees diversification as the key to mitigating risk as well as growing the business and its products and services to ensure long term sustainability. The Tanganda business has grown into a diversified export business adding Coffee, Water, Macadamia Nuts and Avocado to its portfolio.
The tea business exports the bulk of its produce to global marketers through merchants, and the rest is processed and packaged for final consumption in Zimbabwe. The business intends to increase output through the Mutare factory and recently acquired a second Zenobia line to increase capacity to meet growing demand.
It exports Macadamia nuts. The company increased its hectarage from 55 hectares in 2017 to 832 in 2021. There is also another 18 ha under cultivation on a third-party farm. Tanganda is looking at installing a cracking plant as the first stage towards value addition.
The Avocado business has grown from 35 ha in 2011 to the current 448 ha. These are mostly meant for the export market with a focus on South Africa and Europe.
Most of Tanganda’s coffee is marketed under a Nespresso contract while the rest is roasted and ground for the local market.
Tanganda’s regional market territory currently consists of Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.
Among initiatives the organisation has taken as a forward-looking company and appealing as an investment are the 44MW Solar project due to be completed by end of March 2021 and consideration being given to new products and services.
Tanganda Tea Company Limited will be listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange following its demerger from the Meikles group. It indeed attests to the business being in a solid financial and agricultural position going forward as it continues in its journey.