British-Dutch consumer goods company Unilever is cutting its tea division loose, the company reported on Thursday.
Some €3 billion is spent on tea a year, nearly all of that on traditional black tea. But black tea is losing popularity in North America and Europe and this is reportedly straining Unilver budgets.
The tea division has been in hot water for some time, say analysts, who have long believed trouble was brewing. The company announced earlier this year it was looking to spin off its Lipton and Pukka brands.
Some products will remain in the Unilever pot. Iced teas and some tea products from India and Indonesia won’t be syphoned off, the company reported.
Nor has the entire tea relationship come to a bitter end: the tea division may become entirely independent or remain as a Unilever subsidiary.
The London and Rotterdam-based company announced better than expected earnings, however. Although turnover decreased overall by 1.6%, underlying earnings per share rose by 6.4% and it completed a takeover of Horlicks.
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