Home » Firm tied to Mauritian Lagesse family poised to become majority shareholder in Naivas, Kenya’s largest retailer

Firm tied to Mauritian Lagesse family poised to become majority shareholder in Naivas, Kenya’s largest retailer

by Omokolade Ajayi
Arnaud Lagesse

Building on its previous acquisitions in the past two years, Mambo Retail, an investment vehicle linked to IBL Group, a prominent Mauritius conglomerate led by Mauritian tycoon Arnaud Lagesse, is poised to become the majority shareholder of Naivas International, Kenya’s largest retailer.

This is expected to propel both entities towards growth and unlock new opportunities in the retail industry in Kenya.

To facilitate the acquisition of the additional stake, IBL Group recently announced its decision to subscribe to additional shares in Mambo Retail, allowing for the acquisition of an additional 11-percent stake in Naivas International. 

Once the transaction is completed, Mambo Retail will control a majority 51 percent stake in Naivas, positioning it as the primary shareholder.

This strategic move is driven by profitability and market share growth, with the Mukuha family, the late Kenyan retail tycoon Peter Mukuha Kago’s family, expected to receive $41.7 million from the sale of the additional 11-percent stake.

This will mark the third time the Mukuha family has divested part of their stake in Naivas, reducing their ownership interest from the current 60 percent to 49 percent and making them minority shareholders.

The ownership of a majority stake in Naivas by Mambo Retail is projected to create synergies that will fuel growth and unlock new opportunities for both entities. With Mambo Retail’s strategic vision and Naivas’ robust market presence, the future of the retail industry in Kenya appears promising.

The Mukuha family, who fully owned Naivas until 2020, sold a 31.5-percent stake to Mambo Retail for $61.5 million, which was reinvested in the supermarket’s nationwide expansion.

In September 2022, they further reduced their stake to 60 percent by selling an 8.5-percent share to Mambo Retail, the investment vehicle linked to IBL Group, Proparco, and DEG.

Naivas has demonstrated remarkable financial resilience in its 2023 fiscal year. In the first nine months ending on March 31, 2023, the Kenyan retailer recorded a profit of Ksh2.1 billion ($15.25 million), a significant increase from the previous fiscal year. 

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Naivas’ success can be attributed to its robust business model, a network of 84 outlets across 20 cities and towns in Kenya, and its modern grocery retail offerings in prominent urban centers across the country.

The entrepreneurial acumen of the Mukuha family has played a vital role in the company’s growth, and this latest development positions Naivas for further success as it embarks on this new chapter under Mambo Retail’s majority ownership.

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