LD-TATACOFee STARBU 2 bcm42

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On the possible locations,he said, "definitely they should be starting off with the metros like Mumbai and Delhi."

On whether the Tatas and Starbucks will go for a jointbranding, if they decide to cooperate on the front-endoperations, Kumar said, "as far as I understand, Starbuckswill be comfortable to operate their own outlets under asingle brand and we have no plans, as of now, to enter into ajoint retail operations."

Tata Coffee and Starbucks signed a non-binding MoU tocollaborate in sourcing of coffee beans and roastingfacilities relating to Starbucks entering retail operations inthe country initially," a joint statement from the companiessaid. The MoU will help them extend this collaboration toother Asian countries over a period of time, the two firmssaid in the statement.

"This MoU is the first step in our entry into India. Weare focused on exploring local sourcing and roastingopportunities with the thousands of coffee farmers within theTata ecosystem," Starbucks Coffee Company chairman, presidentand chief executive Howard Schultz said in the statement.

He further said, "we believe India can be an importantsource for coffee in the domestic market, as well as acrossthe many regions globally where Starbucks has operations."

Starbucks is the world''s biggest coffee chain managingover 16,000 stores and operates in over 50 global markets. Ithas been linked with several Indian firms such as JubilantFoodworks for partnership to start its retail operations.

On how the association would help his company, Kumarsaid, "we welcome Starbucks entry into India because of bothits unique experience with the store format and for itscommitment to society, values that we share." .

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