Ugandan multimillionaire Sudhir Ruparelia was the first East African ever to grace Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people, and he is the first person from that region to lay claim to a $1-billion fortune.
Ruparelia’s fortunes have since faced some spectacular setbacks.
In October 2016, the Central Bank of Uganda took control of Crane Bank, which Ruparelia owned, over capital adequacy problems and allegations of misappropriation of depositors’ funds.
After a lengthy court battle in which Ruparelia challenged the Central Bank’s decision, in 2022, the Supreme Court of Uganda returned control of the bank to Ruparelia. However, the bank is yet to take off fully.
But his controlling stake in Crane Bank only formed a small piece of his fortune.
Ruparelia, famously known as the ‘Landlord of Kampala’ in many circles, is still the richest man in Uganda and one of the wealthiest in East Africa.
While Ruparelia is the largest property owner in Uganda and is best known for his luxury hotels, apartment complexes, and swanky resorts, many need to become more familiar with his less-known companies, contributing tens of millions of dollars to his bottom line annually.
Here are 10 companies owned by Ruparelia that you probably never knew about:
1. Speke Group
Speke Group is the holding company for Sudhir Ruparelia’s prime hospitality assets.
Speke Group owns a portfolio of luxury hotels, resorts, and shortlist apartments in swanky locations in Kampala.
Its portfolio includes Kabira Country Club, Speke Hotel, Forest Cottages Hotel, and Dolphin Suites Hotel.
Crane Management Services was founded in 1996 and offers real estate management, marketing, and consultancy services not just for the hundreds of properties that Ruparelia owns but for the properties of other corporate and individual clients in Uganda.
The company manages various properties — commercial, industrial, residential, and office blocks in Kampala and towns like Jinja, Mbale, and Mbarara.
Based in Entebbe, Uganda, Premier Roses Ltd. is the country’s largest exporter of roses, commanding around 40 percent of Uganda’s raised export market. The company’s farm is situated around the Lake Victoria basin, which favors the continuous production of flowers year around. Premier Roses specializes in the production of quality cut roses for export. Premier Roses have about 10 varieties of roses on 12 hectares of steel greenhouses with a hydroponics system. Ruparelia established the company in 2014.
4. Goldstar Insurance Company Limited
Goldstar is one of the leading insurance companies in Uganda. The company provides all types of general insurance services to industrial, commercial, and professional firms, Government institutions, individuals, and other enterprises throughout Uganda.
5. Kampala International School
Founded in 1993, Kampala International School (KISU) Uganda began as a small primary school with a curriculum based on the National Curriculum for England.
Today, it offers an inspiring and well-rounded international education to students from 2-18 years old. KISU has evolved considerably over the years and has undertaken an ambitious expansion and development program. As a result, it now boasts a purpose-built school with excellent facilities. It is located in the neighborhood of Bukoto.
In 2004, Ruparelia acquired the prestigious Kampala Parents School from its founder, Ugandan businessman Edward Kasole. Kampala Parents School is a private, mixed primary day school in the Nakawa Division of Kampala, offering a local curriculum.
In 2013, Ruparelia acquired Victoria University Uganda from Edulink Holdings. He has spent millions of dollars giving the school a strong identity and driving enrolment in record numbers. It offers short, professional, diploma, undergraduate, and postgraduate courses.
8. Premier Recruitment Limited
Premier Recruitment is a recruitment firm that places Ugandans in domestic and non-domestic jobs. The industries it focuses on includes but are not limited to security services, hotels, accountancy, marketing, legal, construction, and oil and gas.
Sanyu FM is a broadcast radio station in Kampala, Uganda, providing world adult contemporary pop and urban music.
10. Vcon Construction Uganda Limited
VCON is a building and civil engineering construction company that has handled several multimillion-dollar construction contracts for the Ugandan government and private entities.