KENYA – Naivas Supermarket (Naivas), the largest supermarket chain in Kenya, is set to change its management from local owners to foreign investors as the founders prepare to sell an additional 11 percent stake in the company in a US$41.7 million (Sh5.8 billion) deal.

Currently, Naivas International Limited is owned by the Mukuha family and Mambo Retail which is the local investment vehicle for IBL Group, a Mauritian conglomerate.

If the potential acquisition goes through, Mambo Retail will have a cotrolling 51% stake in the Kenyan retailer.

“The proceeds of the subscription of shares will be utilized by Mambo Retail Ltd to acquire an additional 11 percent in Naivas International … the leading retail chain in Kenya which will result in Mambo Retail Ltd holding 51 percent of the shares in Naivas International Ltd,” IBL Group told its investors.

The Mukuha family’s investment vehicle, Gakiwawa Family Investments, has been gradually offloading its shares in Naivas.

Established in 1990, Mukuha’s family maintained 100% ownership in the retailer until 2020, when they sold a 31.5% stake at KSh 6 billion to private firms.

Amethis, alongside its partners DEG, MCB Equity Fund, and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, acquired an estimated 30% stake in Naivas in April 2020.

In June 2022, according to a press release by Naivas, IBL Group, the largest conglomerate in Mauritius has led a consortium of investors i.e., Proparco, a subsidiary of Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD), and DEG, a subsidiary of German KfW Group, into acquiring a minority stake in the mass distribution company.

French Firm Proparco acquired a KSh 3.7 billion stake in Naivas Supermarket in a deal that saw it become part of a consortium with 40% ownership of the giant retailer.

The multi-billion deal underlined Naivas’s huge value when other retailers, such as Tuskys, collapsed due to huge debts.

With its store numbers across Kenya nearly surpassing the 100th mark, Naivas boasts of being among the modern grocery retails within everyone’s reach in the country.

Even as the sales talk continues, the retail chain is faced with internal wrangles of who to take over the role of director among the founder’s family.

At the center of the new wrangles is an application by Ms. Grace Wambui, one of the daughters of the late Kago, wanting to be appointed administrator of the family empire.

Ms Wambui filed an application for rectification of a grant made to her late brother Simon Gashwe,  at the Nakuru High Court on May 29.

The late Gashwe, whose records show owned 25 percent of Naivas shares, was the administrator of his father’s entire estate. He was appointed sole administrator of the empire on May 6, 2010, but died at the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi in August 2019.

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