Unilever to acquire T2 premium tea business in Australia

unilever logoUnilever announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire T2, a premium Australian tea business for an undisclosed amount. T2 generated sales approaching AUS$57 million for the 12-month period ending June 30 2013.

Kevin Havelock, Unilever President for Refreshment said: “T2 is a fast growing premium tea business with great potential. Unilever is the biggest tea company in the world with brands like Lipton – one of Unilever’s ‘billion-plus’ brands – available in more than 70 countries. This will allow us to bring the benefits of scale and access to new markets to the T2 business and for both businesses to share tea category expertise. This deal will also bring a premium tea business to complement our portfolio that we can leverage in a similar way to other recent Unilever acquisitions.”

The current T2 business operates 40 stores and its range of fragrant teas and tea wares from around the world are also sold through some of the best restaurants in the country.

Clive Stiff, Unilever Australasia Chairman added, “Our Lipton and Bushells brands are two of Australia’s oldest and best-loved tea brands and tea is a strategically important category for Unilever Australia. We know tea drinkers are increasingly looking for new and diverse tea flavours, so we are delighted to be bringing T2’s premium and exciting range into the fold. T2 is a great Australian success story – a story that we now intend to continue with Unilever.”

T2 Founder and Managing Director Maryanne Shearer commented, “We are delighted that we have found a home for T2 that has such a depth of knowledge of tea and has pioneered sustainability in the industry. Both I and the T2 team are looking forward to working alongside new colleagues in Unilever’s tea business to realise the full potential of the business we have spent the last 17 years building.”

The business has been growing double-digit and has significant potential.

Havelock adds, “Under the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, we have led the tea industry to adopt sustainable agriculture practices, initiating certification by the Rainforest Alliance (RA) in 2007, since when some 450,000 smallholder farmers in our tea supply chain have been trained to the RA standard in partnership with Unilever in preparation for certification. T2 have been working with Fairtrade since 2009 on their English breakfast tea, so we see the basis of a common philosophy here too.”

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions.

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