Ethical hot beverages producer Cafédirect has expanded its tea portfolio with the acquisition of The London Tea Company from Finlay Beverages for an undisclosed sum.

Cafédirect CEO John Steel said the deal would help with the business’ future growth strategy and opened up new opportunities in the speciality and fruit and herbal sectors of the market.

The transaction adds London Tea Co’s range of 100% Fairtrade fruit, herbal and black teas to Cafédirect’s portfolio of branded coffee, tea and hot chocolate products.

“There is a strong strategic fit between the Cafédirect and London Tea product range,” Steel said.

“The London Tea products will help us to deliver our future growth strategy whilst continuing to open up new opportunities within the speciality and fruit & herbal sectors. London Tea fits perfectly within our ongoing Fairtrade commitment to ethical trading and sourcing.

“In addition to the opportunities with existing Cafédirect and London Tea customers, we are excited to leverage the benefits of this agreement to further our social and environmental impact which goes well beyond Fairtrade.”

Cafédirect was founded by Oxfam, Traidcraft, Equal Exchange Trading and Twin Trading in 1991 in response to the 1989 global collapse in coffee prices. It became the first Fairtrade certified coffee in 1994 and now works with more than 40 producer organizations in 14 countries.

Finlay Beverages MD Ian Bryson added: “The sale of London Tea was not an easy decision, however, Finlay Beverages is committed to private label manufacturing and helping brand owners make the most of their growth opportunities, rather than owning its own brands.

“The sale of London Tea to Cafédirect enables both businesses’ to focus on their core strengths in order to deliver their respective strategies. I firmly believe that London Tea will continue to be a success under the new brand focused ownership of Cafédirect.”

Finlay Beverages is part of the London-headquartered Finlays Group, which was founded in 1750. It supplies tea, coffee and natural ingredients to the global beverage industry, with extensive interests across plantations, extraction, trading, R&D, packing and customer support in Kenya, Sri Lanka, China, Argentina, North America and the UK.