Tea billionaire faces auctioneer's hammer

The multi-billion tea estate of businessman David Langat. [Courtesy Twitter]

The multi-billion tea estate of businessman David Langat (pictured) is set to go under the hammer at the end of this month. 

Auctioneers have given notice that they plan to sell off DL Koisagat Tea Estate in Nandi County as well as a prime property in Mombasa that DL Group uses for handling and packaging tea for export.

“The parcel extends to 1,342 acres… It is developed with an exclusive tea zone for export-oriented commercial tea cultivation. There are 2.47 million tea bushes occupying 958.75 acres. There are 100,942 eucalyptus trees and 2,223 cypress trees,” said Garam Investments Auctioneers, describing the tea estate in Nandi in a public notice yesterday.

“Other portions of the tea estate are under residential use (managerial houses and labour camps). Woodlots are periodically harvested to provide wood fuel to the tea processing.”

Other than the tea operations, the tea estate has public amenities including a hospital and the Koisagat Primary School.

The Mombasa property is located in a prime locality, off Moi Avenue.

“The subject property comprises a 0.7-acre plot developed with a four-storey office block and five go-downs,” said the notice by Garam, adding that the godowns have been put to different uses, including three that are used for processing and packaging of tea products.

The move to sell the assets through the auction will be a big blow to one of the biggest producers of black tea in Kenya and Tanzania. Other than the teas harvested from its farm, the company says it buys teas from hundreds of farmers neighbouring its farm in Nandi County.

DL Group started out in the mid-1980s as an importer and exporter of commodities based in Mombasa but grew into one of the largest producers of tea in the region.

The firm supplies tea to Tetley UK, one of the largest tea companies in the world.

Other than the Koisagat Tea Estate in Nandi, the firm in 2018 expanded to Tanzania when it acquired three companies from the British firm Rift Valley Corporation for an estimated price of Sh6 billion.

The firm at the time bought a 99 per cent stake in Mufindi Tea and Coffee Ltd, Rift Valley Tea Solutions Ltd and Kibena Tea Ltd, which saw the company emerge as among the leading tea producers in Tanzania. DL Group has also diversified. It recently ventured into energy.

It is the firm behind the Selenkei and Cedate solar power plants in Eldoret, which have an installed power production capacity of 40 megawatts each. The two plants started feeding the national electricity grid in 2022.

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