Home » 5 companies owned by Kenya’s Merali family

5 companies owned by Kenya’s Merali family

by Feyisayo Ajayi
Naushad Merali

The Merali family, renowned for their opulent wealth, shows no signs of slowing down as they strengthen their position as one of Kenya’s wealthiest families following the demise of multimillionaire tycoon Naushad Merali. The late Kenyan businessman built a vast fortune and earned a prominent place among East Africa’s richest entrepreneurs.

Merali, who passed away in 2021, held the esteemed position of chairman at Sameer Group, a Kenyan conglomerate with diverse interests spanning agriculture, construction, information technology, property, and finance. He also served as chairman and the largest individual shareholder of Bharti Airtel’s operations in Kenya, relinquishing his shares and resigning from the company’s board in 2014.

Although Merali preferred to stay away from the limelight, granting rare interviews, he left an indelible mark as one of Kenya’s most benevolent philanthropists. He chaired the Zarina and Naushad Merali Foundation, renowned for its significant contributions to hospitals and underprivileged schools, exemplifying his generous spirit.

Following Merali’s passing, his widow, Zarin Merali, has emerged as the custodian of the family’s substantial fortune, estimated to exceed $500 million, according to Forbes.

Billionaires.Africa has identified and monitored five prominent companies held by the Merali family. Notably, the family maintains controlling interests in the following companies:

  1. Sameer Africa: The Merali family, in charge of the late tycoon Naushad Merali’s estate, holds a 74.06 percent stake in Sameer Africa. To enhance its financial position and tackle operating and liquidity challenges, the company is implementing a strategic restructuring plan that involves selling a portion of its properties.
  1. Sasini Tea: Sasini is a Kenyan agribusiness company that focuses on growing and processing tea, coffee, avocado, and macadamia nuts. They also produce value-added products from these goods for both local and international markets. The Merali family owns the majority share in the company, with a stake of 65.46 percent. The company has tea warehousing facilities in Mombasa.
  1. NCBA Group: The Merali family owns 5.20 percent of NCBA Group, a financial services conglomerate based in Nairobi. NCBA Group is a non-operating holding company with subsidiaries in Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, and Côte d’Ivoire, operating across multiple African nations.
  1. East Africa Batteries Limited (Eveready): After playing a significant role in the company’s growth until recently, the Merali family, owners of Eveready East Africa, a battery brand struggling with sales and losses, have sold a 35-percent stake to InvestAfrica FZCO, based in Dubai, in an effort to generate value from their holdings.
  1.  Legend Investments Limited: Legend Investments Ltd., renowned for its expertise in investment management, oversees the Merali family’s esteemed portfolio on the prestigious Nairobi Securities Exchange. Collaborating with Yana Towers, it functions as an invaluable and well-diversified holding, exemplifying the family’s remarkable strategic prowess in the world of investments.

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