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10 companies linked to Mauritian tycoon Arnaud Lagesse

Lagesse and his diverse business influence across East Africa

by Mfonobong Nsehe
Arnaud Lagesse

Arnaud Lagesse, the Mauritian tycoon and philanthropist, stands tall in East Africa’s business realm. Widely recognized as one of Mauritius’ wealthiest, he also ranks as one of the richest investors on the Mauritius Stock Exchange.

Launching his finance career in Paris, Lagesse pivoted to the family business in 1993, driven by a deep commitment to his homeland and a legacy of entrepreneurship from his father, Cyril Lagesse. Rising through the ranks, he now helms the company established by his grandfather in 1939.

At the helm of Ireland Blyth Limited (IBL Group), the largest conglomerate in Mauritius with over $900 million in annual revenues, Lagesse is the visionary leader. The group, spanning agro and energy, building and engineering, commercial and distribution, financial, hospitality, life and technologies, logistics, seafood, and properties, thrives under his leadership.

In 2016, Lagesse orchestrated the merger of GML Investissement Ltée and Ireland Blyth Limited, birthing IBL Group. With investments in 9 industries and a portfolio of 287 companies across pharmaceuticals, healthcare, logistics, financial services, and shipbuilding, among others, the group reflects Lagesse’s forward-thinking strategy.

A significant player in East Africa’s business services, Lagesse, alongside his brothers, commands a joint ownership stake of 16.81 percent in the IBL Group. This translates to an impressive 114,369,469 ordinary shares valued at MUR 4.93 billion ($111.98 million) on the Mauritius Stock Exchange.

His leadership and savvy investments position him not just as the richest investor on the Mauritius Stock Exchange but also as the largest individual shareholder in Capricorn Group. Lagesse’s investment portfolio, boasting a staggering $130-million valuation, exemplifies his knack for generating substantial wealth through strategic investments.

Billionaires.Africa highlights ten companies associated with Lagesse, showcasing his diverse business interest:.

  1. Ireland Blyth Limited (IBL Group): Lagesse leads IBL Group, Mauritius’ largest conglomerate with a rich history spanning almost two centuries. The family-controlled business, with an annual revenue exceeding $900 million, operates in diverse sectors such as agro and energy, building and engineering, commercial and distribution, financial, hospitality, life and technologies, logistics, seafood, and properties. Lagesse and his siblings collectively own a significant 16.81-percent stake, valued at MUR 4.93 billion ($111.98 million).
  1. Naivas International: A private holding company based in Mauritius, Naivas International invests in Kenya’s retail sector through its subsidiary, Naivas Limited. IBL’s acquisition of a 40-percent stake in Naivas Limited, totaling $145 million, positioned IBL with an effective ownership of 26.3 percent in Naivas International. The deal included a merger between Mambo Retail Ltd and Naivas International.
  1. Bloomage Property Fund; Fully owned by IBL, Bloomage Property Fund stands as a growth-driven and innovative fund focusing on property asset management, ownership, and acquisition. With a well-diversified portfolio valued at Rs 3.5 billion and a substantial gross lettable area, Bloomage spans retail, office, industry, and hospitality segments in Mauritius.
  1. Winner’s supermarkets: Winner’s supermarket, an integrated chain of 20 supermarkets, originated in 1994 as a vital retail component within the group. By 2015, its turnover of MUR5.5 billion ($125 million) accounted for 35 percent of the group’s total turnover. IBL Group increased its ownership in the company from 51 percent to full ownership stake in 2015.
  1. United Basalt Products (UBP): Established in 1953, UBP is a key player in Mauritius’ construction landscape, listed on the Mauritius Stock Exchange since 1989. As a leader in construction materials, UBP specializes in blocks, aggregates, rocksand, and manufactures various complementary concrete elements for construction projects.
  1. Scomat: Operating within the engineering segment of IBL Group, Scomat provides products and professional services in earthmoving and agricultural equipment, generators, uninterruptible power supply, hydraulics, and diesel. It also serves as a longstanding dealership for Caterpillar in Mauritius, dating back to 1929.
  1. BrandActiv: Formed through the 2011 merger of IBL Consumer Goods and IBL Frozen Foods, BrandActiv focuses on the importation and distribution of various consumer goods in Mauritius. Representing a robust portfolio of over 100 brands, it has played a pivotal role in shaping the local market.
  1. Chantier Naval de l’Océan Indien: Established in 2001, Chantier Naval de l’Océan Indien (CNOI) is a shipyard in Port Louis specializing in the construction, repair, and maintenance of vessels. Initially a joint venture, IBL later took a controlling 60-percent stake, and CNOI’s portfolio includes a diverse range of vessels.
  1. Mauritian Eagle Insurance Company Limited: Founded in 1973, Mauritian Eagle Insurance Company Limited specializes in providing personal and commercial insurance solutions. Listed on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius since 1993, it achieved ISO 27001 certification in 2007, showcasing a commitment to information security.
  1. Fondation Joseph Lagesse (FJL): Established in 2005, FJL is a charitable organization initiated by Lagesse. Aligned with a strategic plan for 2020-2023, FJL focuses on reducing poverty sustainably through programs such as Empowerment, Literacy, and Rapid Response. Functioning as a capacity-building entity, FJL collaborates with IBL entities to drive long-term positive change in the communities they serve.

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