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SL Browns Investments enters tea estate business in Kenya

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): In a historic and landmark move, Sri Lanka’s Browns Investments PLC solidified its presence in Kenya officially by acquiring James Finlays’ extensive tea plantations spanning over 27,000 acres in Kenya, yesterday.

LOLC Holdings’ Browns Investments Plc (BIL) has bought 85% stake of James Finlay Kenya tea estates business.

Transfer of ownership was marked by a ceremony attended by Browns Investment PLC Director Kamantha Amarasekera, Bomet County Governor Prof. Hilary Barchok, James Finlays Chairman Philippe de Gentile-Williams and Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Kenya Dr. Kana V. Kananathan.

The deal was first announced in May this year, where an agreement was struck to acquire James Finlay Kenya tea estates business, except the Saosa tea extraction facility, by Browns Investments PLC.

James Finlay Kenya is Brown’s first investment in the Kenyan tea industry, which it sees as an exciting opportunity for growth. In December 2021, Browns acquired Finlays’ Sri Lankan tea estates business.

Browns is part of Ishara Nanayakkara-controlled LOLC Holdings PLC group of companies, which is one of the largest and most profitable listed corporations in Sri Lanka.

James Finlay Kenya Ltd except the Saosa tea extraction facility will remain under Finlays’ ownership and the business will continue to source leaf tea, timber and other services directly from James Finlay Kenya, meaning an uninterrupted service to existing customers.

Finlays said BIL was selected as the preferred buyer because of its strong legacy of guiding its tea estates to continued growth, but also its focus on doing so sustainably while supporting its workforce and local communities.

James Finlay Kenya is Brown’s first investment in the Kenyan tea industry which it sees as an exciting opportunity for growth.

According to a statement issued by Dr. Kananathan, the acquisition by Browns Investments has created optimism for the local community and the broader Kenyan economy.

“High Commissioner Kananathan and Browns Investments PLC Director Kamantha Amarasekera met Kenyan President Dr. William Ruto recently and briefed on the new investments and President Ruto assured the full support of the Kenyan government in the new venture,” the statement said.

Following the completion of the sale, under a new name, Browns intends to continue to run the business; it has been operating until now as a leading global supplier of Kenyan tea.

Dr. Kananathan commended Browns Investments for its substantial and invaluable contributions to Kenya’s economic landscape.

Particularly, he acknowledged the group’s substantial investments in Africa, recognising the positive influence on the local community and broader African society.

Browns Investments is one of the largest tea producing companies in Sri Lanka, having under its management a total of 49 plantations through Maturata Plantations Limited, Udupussellawa Plantations PLC and Hapugastenna Plantations PLC.

The company produces approximately 12 million kilogrammes of made tea annually.

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