Browns Investments Plc completes purchase of James Finlay Kenya

Browns Investments PLC has today announced the completion of its acquisition of Kenyan tea estates business James Finlay Kenya from Finlays.

The sale was first announced in May 2023, with Finlays selecting Browns Investments PLC as the approved buyer based on what it said as 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 a leading grower, manufacturer and supplier of Kenyan tea. It covers a total self-contained area of 10,300 hectares, including 5,200 hectares of tea fields over nine tea estates. The sale includes all parts of James Finlay Kenya Ltd except the Saosa tea extraction facility which will remain under Finlays’ ownership and will be known as ‘Finlays Extracts, Kenya’.

Headquartered in Colombo, Browns has a rich heritage in operating plantation businesses, owning Maturata Plantations, Hapugastenne Plantations PLC, and Udapussellawa Plantations PLC. It is one of the largest tea producing companies in Sri Lanka consisting of 49 individual estates that stretch across an area of over 30,000 hectares and employs over 10,000 individuals.

(L-R) James Finlay Limited Philippe De Gentile-Williams officially hands over the James Finlay Kenya tea estates business to Browns Investments PLC CEO Kamantha Amarasekera and Kipsigis Highlands Cooperative Society Vice-Chair Jonah Langat in Kericho. Looking on is Ambassador, High Commission of Sri Lanka Kana Kananathan.

As part of the sale agreement, Browns and Finlays have mutually agreed to acknowledge the long-standing support of the local community by offering 15% of shares in James Finlay Kenya for public sale through the Kipsigis Highlands Multipurpose Cooperative Society.

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

Finlays says it is continuing to invest in the country through its continued ownership of the Saosa tea extracts facility, and its Kenyan tea sourcing and packing operation James Finlay Mombasa. Saosa manufactures a range of tea extracts and aromas.

“We’re delighted to welcome all members of the James Finlay Kenya community into the Browns family. It’s an amazing business, powered by an incredible community, and superb growth potential which will not just benefit the community, but the Kenyan economy at large,” said Kamantha Amarasekera, CEO of Browns Investments PLC.

James Woodrow, Group Managing Director of Finlays said: “James Finlay Kenya has played an enormous role in Finlays’ success story over the years. In Browns Investments, the JFK community has a conscientious new investor with a bright and exciting vision. We will always have a very close relationship with ‘Browns Plantations Kenya’, and we continue to invest in Kenya through both Saosa, our tea extraction facility, and through James Finlay Mombasa. While this is the end of an era, we’re delighted that 15% of shares in James Finlay Kenya will be owned by members of the local community.”

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