Sri Lankan investors take over operations of James Finlay Kenya

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. [Julius Chepkwony, Standard]

Sri Lankan Investors, the Browns Investments PLC, has finally taken over the management of James Finlay Kenya.

The Browns Investments PLC and James Finlay Kenya on Monday announced the completion of the sale and subsequent handover.

“Browns Investments PLC has announced the completion of its acquisition of Kenyan tea estates business James Finlay Kenya from Finlays,” read a statement shared with the newsroom.

James Finlay Kenya sale was first announced in May 2023, with Finlay selecting Browns Investments PLC as the approved buyer based on 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 self-contained area of 10,300 hectares, including 5,200 hectares of tea fields over nine tea estates.

The sale, as per the press release, includes all parts of James Finlay Kenya Ltd except the Saosa tea extraction facility, which will remain under Finlay’s ownership and become known as ‘Finlays Extracts, Kenya’.

Headquartered in Colombo, Browns has a proud heritage in operating plantation businesses, owning Maturata Plantations, Hapugastenne Plantations PLC, and Udapussellawa Plantations PLC.

Browns is one of the largest tea-producing companies in Sri Lanka, consisting of 49 individual estates stretching across an area of over 30,000 hectares and employing over 10,000 individuals.

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

Following the successful sale James Finlay Kenya, which will become known as ‘Browns Plantations Kenya’ in due course, is Brown’s first investment in the Kenyan tea industry.

In December 2021, Browns acquired Finlay’s’ Sri Lankan tea estates business.

Finlays has a long history in Kenya and 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, adding significant value to the Kenyan economy.

Kamantha Amarasekera, CEO of Browns Investments PLC, welcomed all members of James Finlay Kenya into the Browns.

“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,” stated Amarasekera.

James Woodrow, Group Managing Director of Finlays said they will continue to invest in Kenya through Saosa and the James Finlay Mombasa.

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