KENYA – In a significant development for the Kenyan tea sector, Browns Investments PLC has kickstarted the sale of 15% shares of James Finlay Kenya to communities in Bomet and Kericho counties. 

This development comes shortly after the Sri Lankan based investment holding company acquired James Finlays Kenya from its London, UK-based parent company Finlays. 

The Browns and Finlay, in their sale agreement, recognized the longstanding support of the local community and committed to offering 15% of shares for public sale through the Kipsigis Highlands Multipurpose Cooperative Society.  

This cooperative is set to play a crucial role in facilitating the sale and distribution of shares to interested community members. 

Vice-Chairperson of the Kipsigis Highlands Multipurpose Cooperative Society, Jonah Langat, expressed optimism about establishing a robust working relationship with both Browns and the local community.  

Langat announced that the sale of the 15% shares is underway in various financial institutions in Kericho and Bomet, urging interested locals to acquire the shares from designated outlets, including Cooperative Bank Kericho, Imarisha Sacco in Kericho, Ndege Chai in Londiani, Kenya Highlands Sacco in Kapsoit, and Cooperative Bank in Bomet. 

Langat highlighted the affordability of the shares, priced at Kes10,500 (US$68.5) each, with a maximum acquisition limit of Kes112 million (US$73,0593) per individual.  

He emphasized the importance of members continuing to purchase shares, as there are still four months left to complete the sale. 

The Browns Group, having acquired Finlay’s Sri Lankan tea estates business in December 2021, is now the largest producer of Ceylon tea in Sri Lanka.  

The group owns several plantations, including Maturata Plantations, Hapugastenne Plantations PLC, and Udapussellawa Plantations PLC, making it one of the largest tea-producing companies in Sri Lanka, spanning over 30,000 hectares and employing over 10,000 individuals. 

Despite the change in ownership, Finlays maintains its commitment to Kenya with continued investment, evidenced by its ownership of the Saosa tea extracts facility and the James Finlay Mombasa tea sourcing and packing operation.  

Saosa, in particular, contributes significantly to the Kenyan economy by manufacturing various tea extracts and aromas. 

As the sale of shares progresses, this initiative not only empowers local communities but also strengthens the ties between Browns, Finlays, and the Kenyan tea sector, ensuring sustainable growth and development in the region. 

Earlier during the year, Finlays had its operating certificates temporarily suspended among other multinational tea firms in Kenya pending investigations of alleged incidences of sexual abuse by a BBC expose.  

The multinational, however, expressed its commitment to ensuring no such cases of sexual harassment and gender-based violence in global supply chains. 

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