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New Leadership for Crompton
Founded in 1856 and with headquarters in Manchester, U.K., J R Crompton Ltd. is a manufacturer of filter papers for teabags and one-cup coffee applications. The company specializes in filter papers for hot beverage applications, and offers a comprehensive range -- some 50 different products -- of papers to meet the wide variety of demands. These papers are produced on seven production lines, spread across three manufacturing sites. These are all in the UK, at Simpson Clough, Lancashire, Lydney, Gloucestershire, and Devon Valley, Exeter, the latter being a new acquisition in 2004.

As well as the papers themselves, Crompton has also developed a range of branding or personalization techniques, which can add value to the final tea or coffee product and act as an anti-counterfeit measure. These techniques include waterjetting, printing using food grade pigments, and hot embossing.

Originally a family-owned business, Crompton went through a succession of ownerships during the ‘80s and ‘90s, before becoming a private company once again via a management buy out. They now enjoy funding provided by a blue-chip investor base, which includes Montagu (formerly HSBC Private Equity) and the 3i Group.

Earlier this year, the company appointed a new c.e.o., George E Letman. Letman brings 20 years of experience from working as managing director/chief executive of manufacturing businesses in a wide range of industries, including paper and packaging. The last five of those years were spent in a private equity environment. The senior team also includes Chris Jowsey, technical director, a career papermaker of 20 years experience who joined Crompton in 1999, and John Fitzpatrick, sales and marketing director, who joined in 1994 and worked in the technical and production management departments before joining the sales team at the beginning of 2000.

The team will be completed by the appointment of a new financial director during the course of this summer. Letman said, “There is so much happening in our market right now. In tea there is an accelerating demand as loose tea drinkers convert to teabags in developing areas, particularly Russia and the Middle East. Our colleagues involved in the manufacture of converting machinery are experiencing strong demands from these areas, and of course each machine needs paper to run on it. In coffee, there is exciting growth via the diverse range of one-cup dispensing formats, including pods and other proprietary systems. We are well positioned to capitalize on this growth, as 70% of our business is export, and this goes to around 80 different countries, so we have the market penetration. We have already invested in new capacity with the purchase of Devon Valley Mill last year. Future capacity investment is likely to be by strategic alliance in areas that better support our broad sales geography.” Though there is growth, Letman notes that there are pressures too. “We face unprecedented cost increases, particularly in energy, and we cannot continue to absorb these. Prices in our own market have had to increase and we expect this trend continue.”

Chovan Joins Batdorf & Bronson
Specialty coffee roaster, Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters, welcomes Anastasia Chovan as the company’s director of sales. She will be heading up a team of sales representatives in the company’s Washington and Georgia locations. Previously, Chovan was with Espresso Specialists, Inc. for five years. She is a graduate of Ohio State University with a B.A. in Art History. Chovan’s passion for coffee and background in art were recently joined during the 2005 SCAA conference in Seattle, where she was the curator of a memorable exhibit of antique espresso machines.
Specialty Tea Institute Advisory Board
Newly elected to the 2005 STI (Specialty Tea Institute) Advisory Board are: Jeff Bacon, Bewley’s USA, Sacramento, CA; Mim Enck, FloraPharm Tea USA, Lebanon, PA; and Bruce Richardson, Elmwood Inn Fine Teas, Perryville, KY.

Each serve a two year term, joining the five remaining and current members of the Advisory Board: Pearl Dexter, Tea A Magazine, Scotland, CT; Shashank Goel, Chairman, Ambootia Tea, Chicago, IL; Richard Guzauskas, China Mist Tea Company, Phoeniz, AZ; George Jage, World Tea Expo, Las Vegas, NV; and Jennifer Petersen, Carnelian Rose Tea Co., Vancouver, WA.

The Specialty Tea Institute can be reached at: www.teausa.org

Sales Management Changes at PROBAT
Rainer van der Beek has joined Probat Werke as sales manager. The sales team includes Gerhard Verheyen (Sales Area II). Van der Beek is responsible for regions such as Central and South America, Africa, China, the Benelux countries and Germany. The certified mechanical engineer takes over from the previous sales manager Kurt Kleintjes, who will be retiring at the beginning of 2006 and will act in an advisory role.

Rainer van der Beek has been active in sales and project management in the area of machine and plant manufacture for many years, and has lived and worked in Australia, the U.S. and Russia.

Probat Werke is a market leader in the roaster and plant sector and is headquartered in Emmerick, Germany.

Vander Dussen Joins Swiss Water
Maria J. Vander Dussen has joined Swiss Water Decaffeinated Coffee Company, Inc. as a logistics analyst and customer service support representative. She will be responsible for managing the decaffeinated coffee company’s costs, in addition to providing customer service support.

Dave Wong, controller of SWDCC said, “We needed to ensure we are well positioned for the future growth of the company and with impending volume growth. She is also providing support to business distribution manager, Kathy Berardo, whenever needed, which will ensure Swiss Water customers will have someone to talk to from 6:00am to 4:30pm Pacific Time.”

Vander Dussen previously worked as export production planner for four pulp mills at Canfor, Vancouver, BC, and prior to that, she was the traffic manager at Clover Leaf Seafoods Inc.

Credit must be given to Bruce Richardson of Elmwood Inn for sharing his collection of tea photos with us as shown in the June issue, page 18 in the article, “Producing Tea Nations Re-Position for Global Markets.” Bruce and Jane Pettigrew recently released The New Tea Companion and will be releasing a new book this fall.

Tea & Coffee - September/October, 2005


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