Beanz meanz buckz: Fair trade coffee group in £5m share offer

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The Independent Online

Ethical shoppers will be soon able to get the same buzz out of investing their money as they can from drinking coffee. Café Direct, the fair trade coffee group, will today unveil plans for a novel restructuring that will enable its supporters to do more than just buy its coffee beans and tea bags.

Ethical shoppers will be soon able to get the same buzz out of investing their money as they can from drinking coffee. Café Direct, the fair trade coffee group, will today unveil plans for a novel restructuring that will enable its supporters to do more than just buy its coffee beans and tea bags.

The company, which was launched 13 years ago by four non-governmental organisations, is planning to sell its shares in a move that could raise up to £5m.

Penny Newman, the chief executive, said: "Our vision is to widen the ownership of the company and show that fair trade can enter the mainstream."

The group plans to invest the money raised back in the business. It aims to pay coffee growers a fair price for their beans - typically paying up to three times more than big multinational food processing groups.

From today, for a minimum investment of £300, potential investors will be able to buy shares in Café Direct. On completion of the share issue, which will value the business at about £9m, the founders - Oxfam, Trade Craft, Equal Exchange and Twin Trading - will own 38 per cent of the company, producers will own 5 per cent and new investors, 56 per cent. The rest will be held by the group's executive directors.

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