Home » Centum, linked to Chris Kirubi’s heirs, acquires 4.64 million shares under share buyback program

Centum, linked to Chris Kirubi’s heirs, acquires 4.64 million shares under share buyback program

by Yusuf Abdulfatai
Chris Kirubi

Centum Investment Plc, an East African-focused investment firm controlled by the family of late Kenyan tycoon Chris Kirubi, has made a significant move in its share buyback program by acquiring 4.64 million units of its shares from shareholders.

The share buyback initiative, announced in January, involves spending Ksh600.5 million ($4.84 million) to buy back 66.54 million shares, equivalent to 10 percent of Centum’s listed shares. Under this program, the firm aims to repurchase shares over 18 months, with a target of 66.54 million shares.

Centum Investment, known for its focus on East African markets, has already acquired 4.64 million shares, representing seven percent of its targeted buyback number since the program’s commencement in February. Throughout this period, the company’s shares have traded between Ksh8 ($0.0562) and Ksh9.5 ($0.0667), with an average of Ksh8.81 ($0.619) per share.

Centum Investment specializes in investments across real estate and private equity assets in various sectors, including consumer goods, financial services, agribusiness, and power. However, the firm has faced financial challenges since the passing of its visionary leader, Kirubi.

The late Kirubi, a prominent Kenyan tycoon and serial investor, owned a 31-percent stake in Centum Investments before his passing in 2021 at 80. His son, Robert Kirubi, and daughter, Mary-Ann Musangi, inherited 80 percent of his fortune, including stakes in KCB Group, Haco Industries, and Bendor Estate Limited. The duo now holds the stake in Centum Investments, which was once owned by their father.

Efforts to restructure its balance sheets and reduce interest-paying debts have yet to bear fruit, and the company reported a net loss of Ksh1.55 billion ($12.6 million) at the end of the first half of its 2023 fiscal year, compared to Ksh243.6 million ($2 million) a year earlier. The increase in losses was primarily attributed to unrealized foreign exchange losses.

Despite these financial setbacks, Centum remains committed to its strategic plan and continues to invest in its core sectors, aiming to stabilize its financial performance in the near future. As Centum Investment works to solidify its position in the East African market, the share buyback program represents a significant move to enhance ownership stability and instill investor confidence in its trajectory.

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