Home » Firm owned by Kenya’s Merali family to settle debts with $6.3-million land sale proceeds

Firm owned by Kenya’s Merali family to settle debts with $6.3-million land sale proceeds

by Mfonobong Nsehe
Naushad Merali

Sameer Africa, a Nairobi-based company majority owned by the prominent Merali family, is set to utilize the Ksh879 million ($6.32 million) expected from the sale of a substantial land parcel to alleviate its increasing debt burden.

In a recent statement, Sameer Africa articulated its intentions: “Further, proceeds from the sale of a portion of undeveloped leasehold land that we expect to conclude in the year will allow the group to retire a significant portion of the debt, providing savings in finance costs and reducing exposure to foreign exchange losses.”

This strategic move by the Merali family-led firm follows its announcement two months ago about raising Ksh879 million ($6.32 million) by selling 3.75 acres of land. The company’s liquidity woes emanate from the struggling performance of its tire and automotive products businesses. As of June 30, 2023, Sameer Africa’s total liabilities stood at Ksh857.4 million ($5.98 million), surging from Ksh782.5 million ($5.46 million) at the close of December 2022.

Sameer Africa’s core focus lies in the manufacturing, importation, and sale of tires, along with leasing out its properties. Its comprehensive product lineup includes passenger textile and steel belted radials, 4×4 tires, light truck radial and bias tires, truck, bus, agricultural, industrial, and Off-road tires, all marketed under the esteemed brand Yana.

The Merali family, overseeing the estate of the late tycoon Naushad Merali, commands a 74-percent stake in Sameer Africa. With substantial influence over the company’s direction, the Merali family stands among Kenya’s affluent elite families.

The land, carried on the firm’s books at an initial cost of Ksh15 million ($108,000), has currently been assessed at a notable Ksh879.04 million ($6.32 million) in the prevailing market. This sale marks a significant stride for Sameer Africa, as it signifies the first significant land divestment in recent years.

Sameer Africa’s extensive portfolio of investment properties, procured decades ago, has undergone substantial appreciation in value. Although the exact size of the company’s freehold land remains undisclosed, industry experts estimate its holdings at approximately 85 acres in Nairobi’s Embakasi area.

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