Kenyan investor increases stake in fresh food exporting firm Kakuzi cementing his top ownership position

KENYA – Kenyan billionaire investor Kibunga Kimani, has raised his stake in listed agriculture firm Kakuzi to 34.54 percent after purchasing an additional 431,434 shares with a current market value of Ksh169.8 million.

Mr Kimani, who held 6.34 million Kakuzi shares at the end of last year, increased the stake to 6.77 million units by the first week of August, valuing his worth in the firm at Ksh2.66 billion, reports Business Daily.

Mr Kimani, who joined Kakuzi’s board of directors in November 2020, got approval from the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) to raise his ownership to just under 40 percent.

The investor has steadily built his stake in the firm over the years from lows of two percent in 2005, with his latest purchase further cementing his position as the second largest company owner behind British multinational Camellia Plc, which through its interests in Bordure Limited and Lintak Investments owns a controlling 50.7 percent stake in Kakuzi.

Besides the investment aspect of his purchases, Mr Kimani – who was brought up in one of Kakuzi’s estates—has bought into the company due to his historical association with the company.

He has particularly identified with the squatters living around the company’s land holdings.

In 2018, he set up a philanthropic vehicle, known as the Kakuzi Neighbourhoods Development Foundation, through which he would help the squatters own a part of the company.

The foundation had 216,598 Kakuzi shares as of August this year, unchanged from the end of 2021, worth Sh85.23 million.

Mr Kimani had in 2018 indicated that he would give 300,000 Kakuzi shares to the foundation over five years and that it would also be funded through dividends accrued from its holdings.

The fund’s charitable activities would focus on improving sanitation and educating bright students from poor families living around the firm.

In its recent trading update, the agricultural commodity exporter reported a 75% rise in half year profit to Ksh 341.3m(US$2.85m) from Ksh 194.6m (US$1.62m) on the back of increased exports and a diversified portfolio in the six months ended June 2022.

Its profit before tax showcased a 60% jump from Ksh 276.7 million (US$2.31m) posted within the same period last year to Ksh 494.7 million (US$4.13m).

The performance was inspired by increased sales which topped the Ksh 1.02 billion (US$8.5m) mark up from Ksh 888.95 million (US$7.42m) booked within the same period last year.

This is attributed to higher income from exported commodities i.e., avocado and macadamia nuts and product diversification efforts which have seen it step up domestic sales of macadamia nuts and blueberries.

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