Home » Firm linked to Kenyan tycoon Chris Kirubi’s heirs to secure $20-million loan from IFC

Firm linked to Kenyan tycoon Chris Kirubi’s heirs to secure $20-million loan from IFC

by Yusuf Abdulfatai
Chris Kirubi

Centum Real Estate (Centum RE), a prominent property developer linked to Robert Kirubi and Mary-Ann Musangi, heirs to the late tycoon Chris Kirubi’s business empire, is poised to bolster its affordable housing initiatives with a substantial financial boost.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has extended a $20-million loan to Centum RE, earmarked for the development of 1,940 affordable housing units within the Two Rivers Development, a mixed-use urban complex in Kenya’s Diplomatic Blue Zone in northern Nairobi.

This financial injection marks a significant step forward for Centum RE’s ambitious Mzizi project, which carries a total cost of $91 million. Of this, $71 million will be funded internally by Centum RE through a combination of existing equity, buyer deposits, collections, and reinvested profits from completed units.

Centum RE operates as a subsidiary of Centum Investment Company, a prominent investment firm recognized for its focus on real estate and private equity assets within East Africa’s consumer goods, financial, agribusiness, and power sectors.

The late Chris Kirubi, a distinguished Kenyan tycoon and seasoned investor, held a 31-percent stake in Centum Investments before his passing in 2021 at the age of 80.

Following his demise, his son, Robert Kirubi, and daughter, Mary-Ann Musangi, inherited 80 percent of his estate, including stakes in notable entities such as KCB Group, Haco Industries, and Bendor Estate Limited. Importantly, they also assumed a stake in Centum Investments, a company once under their father’s ownership.

In recent times, Centum RE has been actively engaged in selling both land and properties under development in Kenya and Uganda.

The real estate arm posted a profit of Ksh174 million ($1.2 million) for the year ending in March 2023, marking a remarkable turnaround from a restated net loss of Ksh486.9 million ($3.33 million) recorded the previous year.

The return to profitability was primarily attributed to a substantial unrealized gain on its investment properties, which surged to Ksh2.1 billion ($14.35 million) from Ksh513 million ($3.5 million).

The injection of $20 million from the IFC is expected to further invigorate Centum RE’s efforts to provide much-needed affordable housing in Kenya, contributing to the ongoing expansion and development of the nation’s real estate landscape.

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