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7 February, 2007 - 12:10 By Staff Reporter

Peterborough-India joint venture

Total Produce Plc and Tata Chemicals Limited (TCL) have entered into an agreement to form a 50/50 joint venture company in India.

The objective of the JV is to create state-of-the-art distribution facilities for fresh fruit and vegetables across India by leveraging the individual strengths of both partners.

Total Produce, whose UK arm is based in Peterbor-ough, is Europe’s largest fresh produce company and comprises the general produce business which was demerged from Fyffes Plc on December 30.

Both parties view this as an opportunity to bridge the gap between producer and end consumer, which will significantly increase efficiencies, improve shelf-life and reduce product loss in the supply chain.

The venture will also help Indian farmers improve their incomes and develop the skills needed to raise the quality of Indian farm produce.

It is intended to first establish facilities in two centres in the north and east of the country at a cost of £3m; both centres are strongly supported by the current TKS network. The company plans in due course, to expand this network across India.

Carl McCann, chairman of Total Produce, said: “We believe India, with its fast growing economy and one of the world’s largest populations ,provides great potential to build a large and successful business. India is one of the largest producers of fresh produce in the world.”

Homi Khusrokhan, managing director, TCL, said: “We are very pleased to announce our entry into fresh produce. “The experience of our TKS network gained over the years coupled with expertise in agronomy, gives us a unique edge in this business.”

The Total Produce group generates a turnover in excess of $2.5 billion (£1.2bn), has close to 3,900 employees and trades from more than 80 facilities throughout Europe. TCL is a global company operating in the chemicals and agri space.

It is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) as well as National Stock Exchange (NSE) with consolidated revenues in excess of $1bn (£510m) annually. The company has over 3,000 employees and is part of the $22bn (£11bn) Tata group.

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