New Dutch owner pledges investment in Clipper Teas

By Freddie Dawson

- Last updated on GMT

Clipper Teas has been acquired by the Dutch organic firm Royal Wessanen
Clipper Teas has been acquired by the Dutch organic firm Royal Wessanen

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The new Dutch owner of UK tea manufacturer Clipper Teas has pledged to invest in increased capacity at its Dorset site and spend more on brand promotion.

Dutch organic firm Royal Wessanen promised to boost investment at the firm’s blending and manufacturing plant, which will remain in Beaminster. A Clipper spokeswoman told “Clipper will continue to be made in Dorset and will be integrated into the UK businesses of Wessanen.”

Last year, EU funding granted to Associated British Foods’ subsidiary Twinings was withdrawn when it was discovered the firm planned build a new factory in Poland that would divert production from a UK site.

Wessanen ceo, Piet Hein Merckens, said the acquisition, made for an undisclosed sum, was part of the Dutch firm’s strategy to become the biggest organic brand in Europe.  "Clipper is a very welcome addition to the Wessanen brand portfolio, and its products are predominately in tea, one of our core categories,”​ said Merckens.

UK's favourite

“Its position as the UK's favourite organic and fair trade tea brand, as well as its clear potential in other markets across Europe, mean that we can build towards our ambition of having the most desired organic brands in Europe."

Clipper employs about 90 workers and last year reported turnover of £16M.

Wessanen’s UK businesses include Kallo Foods with its natural and organic brands Kallo and Whole Earth.

In addition to boosting UK sales, Wessanen planned to increase export sales which are currently made to about 50 countries worldwide.

Demand exceeds supply

The acquisition follows predictions that world tea prices are set to be firm this year after demand for black tea exceeded supply demand, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

World production of black tea reached 2.71Mt in 2010, the last year for which statistics were available. That compared with 2.57Mt in in 2009.

Global consumption of black tea totalled 2.77Mt in 2010 compared with 2.59Mt the year previously.

Last year the price of tea averaged £1.82 ($2.85) per kg.

"High prices reflect the fact that demand for black tea, which accounts for most of world production, has exceeded supply since 2009," ​according to the report.

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