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East Africa

Here are 10 of the wealthiest tycoons in Kenya who you most likely don’t know

About 8,300 people in Kenya hold high-net-worth-individual status.



Kenyan businessman Manu Chandaria.

One of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, Kenya has a GDP of $99 billion and is home to more than 53.7 million people, of whom 330 are multimillionaires. Meanwhile, a total of 8,300 people hold the high-net-worth-individual status, according to a recent report by AfrAsia Bank.

The seventh-largest economy in Africa, Kenya ranks among the top 30 countries on the continent for living standards and economic wealth of individuals, with a GDP per capita of $1,838, based on data from the World Bank. This is a step below Angola’s $1,895 and Nigeria’s $2,097.

Kenya is also part of an elite group of five African countries that account for more than 50 percent of the continent’s total private wealth held by individuals. Private wealth in Kenya was estimated at $90 billion in 2020, making it the fifth-largest country on the continent in this regard.

Here are 10 of Kenya’s wealthiest businessmen, according to research by Billionaires.Africa.

#1 Manu Chandaria

Source: Manufacturing and Real Estate 

Manu Chandaria is a member of Comcraft Group, a billion-dollar enterprise that manufactures steel, plastic and aluminium products. The company has a presence in more than 40 countries.

His business interests are extensive and span the Kenyan economy.

Besides the wealth he derives from his ownership stake in Comcraft, Chandria holds a significant fraction of his wealth in real estate investments.

#2 Bhimji Depar Shah

Source: Manufacturing

Bhimji Depar Shah is a Kenyan businessman, industrialist and entrepreneur. He founded Bidco Industries Limited in 1970 as a garments manufacturing business. Since that time, the Kenyan enterprise has grown into a manufacturing conglomerate with operations in 13 African countries.

Recently, it has evolved into a leading soap, detergent and baking powder manufacturer, with an annual gross revenue in excess of $300 million and a portfolio of more than 40 brands.

Owing to his success as a businessman, Shah was named the wealthiest person in Kenya and the 31st wealthiest person in Africa, with a net worth of $700 million in 2015. He replaced his son, Vimal Shah, in the position after Forbes Magazine reevaluated Bidco’s ownership structure.

#3 Samuel Kamau Macharia

Source: Media

Samuel Kamau Macharia is the founder of Royal Media Services (RMS), the largest private radio and TV network in East Africa and Kenya’s most successful broadcasting house, valued at $500 million.

His media company runs the Citizen TV channel and 14 FM radio stations, with a presence in six countries in East Africa — Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Zambia — where it broadcasts by transmitter and over the Internet.

RMS is one of the few media houses in Sub-Saharan Africa to acquire a Ksh300-million ($3.5 million) helicopter for news coverage.

#4 Atul Shah

Source: Retail 

Atul Shah is the managing director and CEO of Nakumatt Holdings Limited, the parent company of Nakumatt Supermarkets, the largest privately owned supermarket chain in the African Great Lakes Region.

With more than 50 stores and annual sales of $450 million, the company operates through its subsidiaries in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.

In 2013, Shah valued shareholder equity in the retail chain at $400 million. It plans to expand its operations to Burundi and South Sudan over the next two to three years.

#5 Peter Munga

Source: Financial Services  

Peter Munga is a Kenyan multimillionaire businessman and the immediate past group chair of Equity Bank Group, a company that he founded in 1984 as Equity Building Society.

Equity Bank Group has grown into one of the largest bank holdings on the African continent by numbers of customers, with more than 15 million.

The multimillionaire derives a substantial percentage of his wealth from his ownership stake in Britam Holdings and Equity Bank Group.

He is also a non-executive director in Britam Holdings Plc, a leading diversified financial services group with a presence in seven African countries, and HF Group Plc, a Kenyan mortgage finance provider.

#6 James Mwangi

Source: Financial Services

James Mwangi is a Kenyan accountant, banker, businessman and entrepreneur. He is the group managing director and CEO of Equity Group Holdings Plc.

He is the executive chairman of Equity Group Foundation, a Kenya-based entity formed to bolster corporate social responsibility and enhance socio-economic prosperity in the region.

Together with his wife, Mwangi holds stakes in Britam Holdings and Equity Bank Group worth more than $65 million.

#7 Kimani Rugendo

Source: Consumer Goods

Kimani Rugendo, a Kenyan multimillionaire who turned his water business into a multi-billion-shilling empire, is one of the country’s richest businessmen.

Thanks to his flagship company Kevian Kenya, he has built a fortune leveraging opportunities in the consumer goods industry through the sale of packaged water and juice products.

Since the company’s founding, it has transformed itself into a whole fruit juice company, with two plants launching powerful brands like Pick ‘N’ Peel and Afia, which have gone on to dominate not only the Kenyan market, but the greater East and Central African regions.

#8 Adil Popat

Source: Conglomerate 

Adil Popat is one of the most successful car dealers in Kenya through his Simba Corporation, an empire that includes auto dealerships, luxury hotels and engineering and financial services.

The multimillionaire also owns the popular Villa Rosa Kempinski hotel in Nairobi. He is the group executive chairman of Simba Corporation.

#9 Suleiman Said Shahbal

Source: Investment Banking, Financial Services and Energy

Suleiman Said Shahbal is an investment banker, who has concluded deals across the globe in excess of $1 billion.

The leading investor, who has more than 25 years of experience in the banking sector, recently concluded a deal that will set him on course to earn millions of dollars after the French multinational Rubis Energie receives approval to buy out shares in Gulf Energy Holdings.

Shahbal was responsible for setting up Gulf Energy, Kenya’s fourth-largest energy company, with branches in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia and South Africa.

His stake in Gulf Energy is held indirectly through Monte Carlo Investments Limited, which he wholly owns.

Shahbal is also the mastermind of Kenya’s first Islamic bank, Gulf African Bank, which set the trend for a new industry in the country. It is currently the 14th largest bank in Kenya.

#10 Francis Koome Njogu

Source: Energy

Francis Koome Njogu is the CEO of Gulf Energy, a Nairobi-based special purpose vehicle owning part of the oil marketing assets and businesses of Gulf Energy Holdings.

Just like Shahbal, Njogu is on course to pocket millions from the sale of shares in Gulf Energy Holdings to Rubis Energie.

East Africa

Egypt’s richest man Nassef Sawiris loses $340 million in November as shares in Adidas slump

Since the year began, his net worth has declined by $44.2 million, or seven basis points.



Egypt’s richest man Nassef Sawiris.

Egyptian billionaire businessman Nassef Sawiris recorded a multimillion-dollar net worth loss in November as a double-digit decline in the share price of German sportswear manufacturer Adidas caused his net worth to slump by $340 million during the month under review.

Sawiris, a member of the Adidas supervisory board since 2016, holds a 3.72-percent stake in the company. His beneficial stake in the sportswear behemoth accounts for a substantial fraction of his wealth.

Despite the marginal gains that he saw from his 30-percent stake in Netherlands-based fertilizer producer OCI N.V., the Egyptian billionaire recorded a loss in his net worth in November due to a 10-percent decline in Adidas shares on the Deutsche Börse in Frankfurt, Germany.

Data retrieved by Billionaires.Africa revealed that his net worth at the opening of business and trading activities on Nov. 1 was estimated at $6.89 billion.

The decline in the Adidas share price from €284 on Nov. 1 to €255.55, as investors sold off their positions in the sportswear maker after it reported a €600-million ($696 million) cut back in quarterly revenue, caused Sawiris’ net worth to fall to $6.55 billion on Nov. 30.

This translates to a net-worth loss of $320 million for the billionaire in the month under review.

Sawiris remains the richest man in Egypt and one of the wealthiest businessmen in Africa with a net worth of $6.55 billion. The figure represents 0.0786 percent from the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world.

His current net worth makes him the 435th wealthiest man in the world.

Since the year began, his net worth has declined by $44.2 million, or seven basis points, placing him among the many billionaires who have recorded losses in their net worth this year.

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East Africa

Centum, controlled by family of late tycoon Chris Kirubi, kicks off new dividend policy

Centum is a leading East African investment company with investments in real estate and private-equity assets.



Late billionaire Chris Kirubi.

Kenya’s largest listed investment firm, Centum Investment Company, has announced a dividend policy that will see shareholders receive 30 percent of the investment income annually in line with its strategic decision to build up and strengthen its balance sheet.

Centum is a leading East African investment company with investments in real estate and private-equity assets in the consumer goods, financial, agribusiness and power sectors.

The family of late Kenyan businessman Christopher Kirubi controls a 31-percent stake in the company, which amounts to 205,908,205 ordinary shares.

The company emphasized that the policy is integral to its target to maintain a zero long-term debt balance, as it moves to reduce finance costs while reinvesting shareholder capital into portfolio companies to increase value.

So far in 2021, the company has posted a total of Ksh771.1 million ($6.85 million) in investment income, more than 134-percent higher than the Ksh329.1 million ($2.92 million) it reported in the first nine months of 2021.

The new policy’s coming on stream will see shareholders pocket Ksh231 million ($2.05 million) in final dividends next year, Ksh13 million ($115,460) higher than its final dividend of Ksh218 million ($1.94 million) in 2021.

Kenyan businessman James Mworia, the CEO of Centum, announced the dividend policy on Tues., Nov. 30, during an investor briefing. He explained that the policy corresponds with its target to strengthen its balance sheet.

Earlier this week, Centum reported Ksh662.1 million ($5.9 million) in net losses in the half-year period of its current financial year, compared to the Ksh1.98 billion ($17.6 million) in net losses that it posted during the corresponding period of 2021.

The resilient performance was underpinned by increased operating profitability driven by higher investment income, as Centum continued re-balancing its portfolio in line with its capital preservation and liquidity enhancement objectives.

As of press time, Dec. 1, shares in the company were worth Ksh15.1 ($0.1341), 33-basis points higher than their opening price on the Nairobi Stock Exchange this morning.

At the current price, the market value of the stake held by the family of the late billionaire is estimated at Ksh3.11 billion ($27.6 million).

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East Africa

Kenyan tycoon Suresh Bhagwanji Shah’s I&M Group profit surges by 70 percent above $51 million in 9M 2021

I&M Holdings, or I&M Group, is the Kenya-based non-operating holding for I&M Bank Limited.



Businessman Suresh Bhagwanji Shah.

Kenyan financial services conglomerate I&M Bank Group reported robust financial results in 2021 as increased interest income coupled with reduced interest expenses delivered a strong double-digit surge in profit in the first nine months of 2021.

The financial services giant posted a profit of Ksh5.7 billion ($51 million) from January to September 2021, which represents a 25-percent increase when compared to the Ksh4.6 billion ($4.1 million) in profit that it reported during the same period a year ago.

I&M Holdings, or I&M Group, is the Kenya-based non-operating holding for I&M Bank Limited. It operates through its banking subsidiaries in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and a joint venture in Mauritius.

Since the bank’s founding in 1950 by Shah, who holds a substantial 10.8-percent stake in the banking group, it has grown its operational footprint to other countries in the region.

Its expansion is evident in its recent acquisition of a 90-percent stake in the Ugandan bank, Orient Bank Limited.

The group’s profit in the first nine months of 2021 was driven by its assets and revenue diversification strategy, which led to the 15.73-percent growth in interest income to Ksh22.8 billion ($202.6 million), and a 5.2-percent decline in interest expenses.

Despite an increase in operating expenses driven by higher wages and salaries paid to the staff and loan loss provisions for the period, the strong double-digit growth in net-interest income spurred revenue above the $51-million mark.

As a result of this strong performance, the value of the group’s assets rose from Ksh344.7 billion ($3.0 billion) in 2020 to Ksh399.1 billion ($3.5 billion), while the value of the shareholders’ equity stake grew from Ksh60.5 billion ($537.6 million) to Ksh68 billion ($604.3 million).

As of press time, Nov. 30, shares in the group were worth Ksh21 ($0.1866) per share, 48-basis points higher than their opening price on Mon., Nov. 30.

At this valuation, the group’s market capitalization is estimated at Ksh17.4 billion ($154.6 million).

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