Records of James Finlay (Uganda) Limited

Scope and Content

  • Company register 2006;
  • Corporate records 1990-2001;
  • Board report 2001.

Administrative / Biographical History

In the early 1990s James Finlay, initially in partnership with Commonwealth Development Corporation and the Ugandan Government, invested in and rehabilitated a number of tea estates owned by Rwenzori Highlands Tea Company Limited, a Ugandan incorporated parastatal. Ownership was via a holding company, Rwenzori Tea Investments Limited which became wholly owned by James Finlay in 2001. Subsequently Rwenzori Highlands Tea Co Limited changed its name to James Finlay (Uganda) Limited.

Rwenzori Holdings Limited was incorporated as Continental Shelf 402 Limited 12 Oct 2006 . Later incorporating as Rwenzori Holdings Limited 23 Nov 2006 . James Finlay (Uganda) accounted for over 25 percent of Uganda's tea export. Formerly known as Rwenzori Highlands Tea Company Limited, the company grew to become the country's largest exporter of black tea. All five Finlay factories produce black crush, tear and curl (CTC) teas. Four of the factories use screw fomenters and eucalyptus fired fluid bed driers. At Kiko Estate the tea is made using Williamson fermenting trolleys and state-of-the-art Kilburn vibrating fluid bed drier.

Located in the Rwenzori range on Uganda's south western border with Congo. The company had over 2000  hectares of mature seedling tea and high yielding clonal tea, located within six tea estates. The company has planted Eucalyptus grandis (fast growing wood suitable for wet areas) at all estates, which is used for fuel wood resulting in the tea estates becoming virtually self-sufficient. The estates are located in areas of indigenous equatorial forest that provide habitats for a variety of species of flora and fauna, the preservation of this environment is critical to the tea growth.

The company produced 8200 tons of tea in 2002 , increasing to 9500 tons in 2003 . The company employed more than 5000 people at six large estates in the Bushenyi, Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Kibaale and Hoima districts. The Kabarole district accounts for more than 70 per cent of the tea produced in Uganda.

McLeod Russel India Limited acquired the Uganda business of James Finlay Limited in 2008 . Their subsidiary company Borelli Tea Holdings Limited picked up a 100 percent stake in James Finlay (Uganda) for 25 million dollars. Borelli also paid another five million dollars to the vendors James Finlay and James Finlay International Holdings Limited, paid as inter corporate debt. Borelli entered into a share price agreement with the vendors to buy Uganda's Rwenzori Tea Investments, which owned a 100% in James Finlay (Uganda) Limited.

Cited from;

  • Fick, David; Africa Continent of Economic Opportunities; STE Publishers, Johannesburg, page 365,  2006 ;
  • .


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Related Material

Salama Estate GB UGD 091/1/1/8/21-23;

Kenya Board visit GB 248 UGD 091/1/1/8/37.

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Additional Information

Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives, ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999and National Council on Archives, Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names

Scotland is the location of all place names in the administrative/biographical history element, unless otherwise stated.

Fonds level description compiled by Peter Morphew, Business Archive Cataloguer (James Finlay Ltd), January 2016.