U.K tea, coffee, and botanical extracts supplier Finlays is selling its Sri Lankan tea estates to Browns Investments. The deal will include the Hapugastenne Plantations (HPL) and Udapussellawa Plantations (UPL).
“After careful consideration and a rigorous selection process, we have agreed to transfer ownership of our Sri Lankan tea estates to Browns. As a Sri Lanka-based investment firm with a strong track record in agriculture, Browns is ideally placed to unlock the long-term value of the plantations,” says Guy Chambers, group managing director of Finlays.
Finlays will still be represented in Sri Lanka by Finlays Colombo, its tea blending and packing operation that sources teas from multiple origins including Hapugastenne and Udapussellawa via the Colombo auction.
“Hapugastenne plantations and Udapussellawa plantations are two of the best managed and productive plantation companies in Sri Lanka and we are proud to be associated in their future journey,” adds Kamantha Amarasekera, director of Browns Investments.
Age-old wisdom of tea farmingFinlays will still be represented in Sri Lanka by Finlays Colombo, its tea blending and packing operation.
These Sri Lankan farms have played an important role in Finlays’ history, and we are sure that they will continue to flourish under the ownership of Browns Investments PLC, explains Chambers.
The sale concludes in a few days, following which Browns Investments, part of the LOLC Holdings group companies, must make a mandatory offer to purchase outstanding shares in UPL and HPL.
Together the plantations comprise 30 tea farms and 20 processing centers located in seven agro-climatic regions of Sri Lanka.
The move comes at a time when functional beverages like high-protein iced tea are gaining market traction.
Logistics of the “tea estates” sale
Headquartered in Sri Lanka, Browns Investments has a successful track record in operating plantation businesses in the region.
“We will work with Finlays to ensure a smooth transition between the two groups. We warmly welcome the management and staff of Hapugastenne Plantations and Udapussellawa plantations to the Browns family, which has a business heritage dating back to 1875,” outlines Amarasekera.
Browns owns Maturata plantations, a tea processing company consisting of 19 estates, spanning more than 12,000 hectares and cultivated by a workforce of about 5,000 people.
Finlays has also seen expansion into the coffee ingredients segment, earlier this year, when the company’s latest installation of a coffee extraction plant at its facility in northern England committed to boosting the cold brew coffee industry. The growth included upscaling the production of hospitality sectors by 2022.