KENYA – James Finlay, a private limited company specializing in processing and supply of tea, received KES3.1 billion (US$23.6M) from the sale of its Kenyan tea business, according to a revelation by DealMakers Africa Magazine. 

The sale of the tea business to Sri Lanka’s LOLC Holdings, the Browns Investments PLC, was officially finalized in November, but the value of the deal was not disclosed. 

Scottish multinational, James Finlay announced its partial exit from the Kenyan market last year … The deal is valued at US$23.6 million,” stated DealMakers Africa regarding the transaction. 

The sale saw LOLC Holdings acquire an 85 percent stake in James Finlay Kenya, with a 15 percent stake allocated to the local community through the Kipsigis Highlands Multipurpose Co-operative Society. This move is seen as a strategic effort to improve community relations amid historical land disputes. 

“The Kipsigis Highlands Co-operative will have a say in the management of the tea estates, and will receive a share of the profits,” affirmed DealMakers Africa, highlighting the community’s involvement in the deal. 

The transaction not only benefits the local community but also promotes sustainable agriculture practices in the region, a crucial aspect amid growing pressure on foreign-owned agricultural firms to appease local communities amidst land disputes driven by population growth. 

Furthermore, the deal will see LOLC Holdings take over James Finlay’s tea plantation, covering 10,300 hectares, including 5,200 hectares of tea fields across nine tea estates.  

As part of the transition, the UK multinational will retain its tea extraction business which will be supplied by LOLC’s local operations that will be rebranded from James Finlay Kenya to Browns Plantations Kenya to reflect the change in ownership. 

“Finlays has affirmed its ongoing commitment to Kenya, retaining ownership of the Saosa tea extraction facility, to be rebranded as Finlays Extracts Kenya, which will continue to source leaf tea, timber and other services directly from James Finlay Kenya and James Finlay Mombasa, its tea sourcing and packing enterprise specializing in Kenyan tea,” DealMakers Africa said. 

LOLC Holdings, a Sri Lankan conglomerate with interests in trading, manufacturing, leisure, agriculture, and insurance, now expands its footprint into Kenya’s tea industry. 

Browns Investments, a subsidiary of LOLC, emerges as one of the largest tea producing companies in Sri Lanka where it acquired James Finlay’s tea estate business in 2021. 

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