Mandatory offer to minority shareholders in progress
James Finlays, a Scottish company with a 127-year presence in Ceylon / Sri Lanka, sold two listed regional plantation companies (RPCs), Hapugasgtenne and Udapusselawa, to Browns Investments PLC which acquired 89.96% of Hapugasgtenne at Rs. 28.30 per share and 90% of Udapussellawa at Rs. 42 a share on the Colombo Stock Exchange.
The transactions were worth Rs. 1.9 billion.
A compulsory offer to minority shareholders is in progress at these prices.
In an announcement made in London, Finlays said the two PRCs manage 30 tea plantations and 20 factories in six of the country’s seven agro-climatic regions. The properties have been leased to the Janatha Estates Development Board (JEDB) and the State Plantations Corporation (SLSPC) since 1992.
The Finlays announcement described the buyer, Browns Investments PLC, as “a very successful diversified conglomerate and part of the LOLC Holdings PLC group companies”.
“Headquartered in Sri Lanka, Browns Investments has a proven track record in operating plantation businesses in Sri Lanka. Browns owns Maturata Plantations, one of the largest tea production companies in Sri Lanka, made up of 19 individual estates that span an area of over 12,000 hectares and employ a workforce of over 5 000 people.
“There will be no immediate change for any of the employees of Hapugastenne Plantations PLC and Udapussellawa Plantations PLC and Browns intends to continue to run the business as it has been operated to date,” said said Finlay’s announcement.
Finlays will continue to be represented in Sri Lanka by Finlays Colombo Ltd., its tea blending and packaging operation that sources teas from multiple origins, including Hapugastenne and Udapussellawa through the Colombo auction. This means that Finlays is able to continue to provide uninterrupted service to customers, he added.
said Kamantha Amarasekera, director of Browns Investments PLC. “Hapugastenne Plantations and Udapussellawa Plantations are two of Sri Lanka’s best managed and productive plantation companies and we are proud to be associated with their future journey. We will work with Finlays to ensure a smooth transition between the two groups. We warmly welcome the management and staff of the Hapugastenne and Udapussellawa Plantations to the Browns family, whose business heritage dates back to 1875.
Guy Chambers, Managing Director of Finlays Group, said: “After careful consideration and a rigorous selection process, we have agreed to transfer ownership of our Sri Lankan tea estates to Browns Investments PLC. As a Sri Lanka-based investment firm with a strong track record in agriculture, Browns Investments PLC is uniquely positioned to unlock the long-term value of Hapugastenne Plantations PLC and Udapussellawa Plantations PLC.
“These Sri Lankan farms (plantations) have played an important role in the history of Finlays, and we are confident that they will continue to thrive under the ownership of Browns Investments PLC. I would like to thank our colleagues at the tea plantation in Sri Lanka for their passion and commitment, and I wish them good luck for the future.