Sri Lanka’s George Stuart & Co to buy tea exporter HVA

ECONOMYNEXT – George Steuart & Company Limited said it is buying a 51 percent stake in HVA Foods Plc, an exporter that produced instant teas and was making a voluntary offer for other shareholders.

HVA Lanka Exports (Pvt) Ltd, which owns 61.1 percent or 40.8 million shares of HVA Foods had agreed to sell at 3.50 rupees a share, a stock exchange filing said.

George Steuart is making a voluntary offer to buy out all remaining shareholders.

The firm said the acquisition will bring such as Heladiv, Infini-t and Tea Plus and iced tea, tea cordials, moringa teas and king coconut and aloe vera based drinks to the firm’s portfolio.

“This move also represents our commitment to driving the local manufacturing industry, adopting newer, diverse value-added products that meet the ever-changing requirements of both local and global consumers,” George Steuart Chairman Dilith Jayaweera said.

NDB Investment Bank is the advisor to the transaction.

“Since 1990, we have taken pride in challenging convention and making the traditional beverage of tea a more versatile product,” Rohan Fernando, Founder/Chairman, HVA Foods Plc said.

“Being the first iced tea brand in the country, we led the march in inspiring traditional tea exporting concerns to become relevant in the new age.

“We emphasized the importance of research and development by setting up a dedicated R&D laboratory, which was the first of its kind in the industry.”

George Steuart & Company was founded in 1835 by Captain James Steuart and his brother George, as an agency house and coffee exporter.

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After the 1870s coffee blight, the firm moved into tea. In 1975 its assets were expropriated by the state.

It then expanded into healthcare, travel, leisure, insurance broking, financial services, industrial solutions and fast-moving consumer goods. (Colombo/Dec02/2020-sb)

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