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Jeremy Awori-led Absa Bank auctions 40 vehicles linked to bankrupt Italian firm CMC di Ravenna

Formerly Barclays Bank Kenya, Absa Bank Kenya is the local subsidiary of the South Africa-based Absa Group.

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Egyptian richest man Nassef Sawiris.

Absa Bank Kenya has put up for auction more than 40 vehicles purchased by the bankrupt Italian firm CMC di Ravenna over debts and other financial obligations linked to the firm, amounting to Ksh585 million ($5.28 million).

Formerly Barclays Bank Kenya Limited, Absa Bank Kenya is a commercial bank operating as the Kenyan subsidiary of the South Africa-based Absa Group Limited.

The decision made by the Jeremy Awori-led bank to auction the seized vehicles and equipment follows a consent letter signed before Kenyan Justice David Majanja by Absa and the Italian firm after it failed to fulfil its financial obligations to the Kenyan lender, a recent report revealed.

Earlier, CMC di Ravenna was contracted by Kenya’s Central Rift Valley Water Development Agency (CRWDA) to construct the multimillion-dollar Itare dam in Nakuru County.

The Italian firm put construction on hold in November 2018. It left the site after going bankrupt and filed for insolvency in Italy to rescue its operations and avoid liquidation.

Prior to handing over the dam project to the CRWDA, CMC di Ravenna had accumulated debts and tax obligations running into millions of dollars.

Absa said the Italian company approached it in 2017 and 2018 for various financial facilities.

In total, Absa’s lawyer Kamau Karori said it loaned CMC di Ravenna Ksh585 million ($5.28 million) to purchase 98 vehicles and equipment for the dam project.

The sale will set the company on course to recover the loan. If there is a shortfall, the remaining amount will be included in a bankruptcy plan under administration in Italy and recognized in Nairobi.

The recovery of the Ksh585-million ($5.28 million) loan will set the bank on course to reduce the loans in its books below or around the KSh201-billion ($1.81 billion) mark.

As of June 30, Absa Bank Kenya had Ksh201.95 billion ($1.82 billion) in loans and advances with customers. This is lower than the Ksh208.90 billion ($1.89 billion) that it reported at the start of the year.

Awori, the bank’s managing director, received $850,800 (KSh93.20 million) in compensation in 2020.

East Africa

Kenyan multimillionaire banker James Mwangi loses nearly $5 million in 56 days as Equity Group shares retreat from 21-month high

Equity Group Holdings Limited is a leading financial services holding based in Nairobi.

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Kenyan multimillionaire banker James Mwangi.

Kenyan multimillionaire businessman James Mwangi has seen the market value of his stake in Equity Group Holdings decline by Ksh550 million ($4.96 million) in the past 56 days, as shares in the Kenya-based group retreated from a record 21-month high.

Equity Group Holdings Limited is a leading financial services holding headquartered in Nairobi, the capital and largest city of Kenya.

Under the leadership of Mwangi, the holding has grown into one of the largest financial services groups in East Africa, operating through its subsidiaries in Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, in addition to its Kenyan operations.

As of press time, Oct. 22, shares in the Kenya-based financial services group were trading at KSh49.95 ($0.451) per share, 91-basis points higher than its opening price this morning.

In recent times, Equity Group has lost nearly eight percent of its market capitalization on the Nairobi bourse, as investors book profits after the share price surged to a record 21-month high of Ksh54.25 ($0.489) on Aug. 27.

Since Aug. 27, the group’s share price has declined from a price of Ksh54.25 ($0.489) to KSh49.95 ($0.451) as of the time of writing, accruing a loss of 7.5-percent for shareholders and insiders, such as Mwangi, who hold stakes in the financial services group.

As a result of the decline in the group’s share price, the market value of Mwangi’s stake has declined from Ksh6.93 billion ($62.55 million) to Ksh6.38 billion ($57.6 billion) between Aug. 27 and Oct. 22.

This translates to a loss of Ksh550 million ($4.96 million) for the multimillionaire banker in 56 days.

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East Africa

Kenyan mogul Julius Mwale offers $20 million to farmers to restore activity at Mumias Sugar

The funds will be used to kickstart sugarcane cultivation and sugar production.

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Kenyan mogul Julius Mwale.

Kenyan tech tycoon and Mwale Medical and Technology City (MMTC) owner Julius Mwale has offered Ksh2.2 billion ($20 million) to farmers in an effort to restore sugarcane farming.

According to recent reports, Mwale said the funds will be used to provide farmers with capital to kickstart sugarcane cultivation and sugar production, and to boost the industry at large.

The capital commitment follows his successful Ksh27.6-billion ($249.31 million) bid made through his Tumaz & Tumaz Enterprise as part of a leasing tender to take control of Mumias Sugar over a 15-year period.

Mwale, who received a $200-million (Sh22.1 billion) loan commitment from a leading U.S. bank to strengthen his chances of taking home the lease, placed the highest bid from among eight bidders looking to assume control of the company, according to the receiver-manager, Ponangipali Rao.

His $249.31-million bid was higher than the Ksh8.4 billion ($75.9 million) that Devki Group owner Narendra Raval offered to take control of Mumias and the KSh3.5 billion ($31.61 million) that Kenyan businessman Jaswant Rai offered through his company, Rai Group.

Mwale’s $20-million commitment is expected to go to farmers who abandoned the Mumias plantation after the sugar-production company ran into a financial crisis three years ago.

In addition, Mwale disclosed that a sum of KSh2.2 billion ($20 million), Ksh887 million ($8 million) and Ksh221 million ($2 million) will be allocated, respectively, to revive two ethanol plants owned by the company, its power generation unit and its water-bottling plant.

Mwale also plans to allocate Sh2.2 billion ($20 million) each to build an airport, an agricultural research university, a sugar tourist resort, a housing project and a hospital at the Mumias complex.

Mwale is the president and CEO of SBA Technologies, a New York-based company founded in 2003.

He is also the lead investor in MMTC, a $2-billion community-owned sustainable metropolis with an extensive medical and technology complex that contains a shopping and residential unit, a golf resort and a convention center.

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East Africa

Ethiopian billionaire Mohammed Al-Amoudi gains $360 million in 21 days after losing $530 million between July and September

His $7.2-billion fortune is derived from closely held companies such as Preem, Svenska Petroleum and Midroc Europe.

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Ethiopian billionaire Mohammed Al-Amoudi.

Ethiopia-born billionaire Mohammed Al-Amoudi has recorded a $360-million boost in his net worth in the past 21 days after his wealth fell by $530 million between July and September.

The billionaire, whose real-time fortune of $7.2 billion is derived from closely held companies such as Svenska Petroleum, Midroc Europe (a construction and property group) and Preem (his most valuable asset), has seen his net worth increase by 5.26 percent since Sept. 29.

Data retrieved from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index revealed that his net worth has increased from $6.84 billion on Sept. 29 to $7.20 as of the time of writing, Oct. 21, owing to an increase in the valuation of his assets across Sweden, Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia.

This translates to a net worth gain of $360 million for the billionaire in the past 21 days.

Between July 28 and Sept. 29, his net worth fell from a valuation of $7.37 billion to $6.84 billion.

The recent increase in his net worth is linked to a revaluation of his equity interest in companies, and specifically his ownership interest in Svenska and Preem, the largest fuel company in Sweden, with an annual refining capacity of more than 18 million cubic meters of crude oil.

Recently, Pyrocell, a Preem subsidiary, announced that a biofuel plant producing pyrolysis is under way. This is in line with the group’s commitment to achieving large-scale renewables production.

The plant, which is located in Gavle, Sweden, will produce around 25,000 tonnes of non-fossil pyrolysis per year, which equates to the annual fuel consumption of 15,000 passenger vehicles.

Al-Amoudi’s net worth of $7.20 billion makes him the 387th richest man in the world behind U.S. businessman and investor Tom Gores, who is $20-million richer.

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