KENYA – Browns Investments, a subsidiary of Sri Lanka’s LOLC Holdings, has finalized the acquisition of all tea estates owned by Lipton Teas and Infusions Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania, pending regulatory standards clearance. 

The acquisition includes other subsidiaries of Lipton in Rwanda and Tanzania, marking a significant expansion for Browns Investments in the East African tea industry.  

As part of the deal, the communities in Bomet and Kericho, where the tea estates are located, will be given a 15 percent stake in the newly acquired company. 

Additionally, Browns Investments has announced the creation of a Community Welfare Trust with an initial Kes1 billion investment to address various challenges facing local communities in the areas where the tea estates operate. 

Nathalie Roos, CEO of LIPTON Teas and Infusions, expressed confidence in the partnership with Browns Investments, stating, “Browns is the perfect partner, with the credibility, capabilities,, and scale, to work with us to raise standards in the whole tea industry.  

The team’s commitment to sustainability and community development aligns with our own. Together, we are setting a new precedent for transforming the global tea market—one cup at a time.” 

Lipton Kenya Estates is made up of 11 plantations and eight factories distributed across the two counties of Bomet, Kericho, and Kiambu. 

This comes barely a few years after Lipton Tea’s assets were acquired by the European private equity firm CVC Capital Partners from Unilever more than 3 years ago. 

This week, Browns Investment implemented changes in its governance structures following last year’s BBC report exposing a sex-for-work scandal in James Finlay. 

While acknowledging the weaknesses in its management systems that facilitated incidents of sexual exploitation and gender-based violence, the company has embarked on a comprehensive overhaul to address these issues.    

As part of the overhaul, the company has restructured its welfare operations, including regular training and rotation of welfare staff, and relocated the welfare office.  

Additionally, it has reviewed all processes and policies related to contractor management. 

Following internal investigations, Brown Investment has reviewed and enforced its human resources policies, particularly those concerning recruitment, promotion, and redundancy.   

The investigations’ recommendations included enhancing welfare structures, offering free private counseling and psychosocial support, strengthening the company’s approach to contractor management, and launching an extensive campaign to build awareness and trust.   

Browns Investment acquired James Finlay’s Kenyan tea business in a deal valued at US$23.6 million in 2023.   

LOLC Holdings took an 85 percent stake in James Finlay Kenya, with a 15 percent stake allocated to the local community, aiming to improve relations amid historical land disputes.   


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