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Kenyan tycoon Julius Mwale plans to bring in Dangote-connected firm to manage Mumias Sugar

Indian engineering consultancy firm J.P Mukherji & Associates operates in more than 30 countries across four continents.

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Kenyan businessman Julius Mwale.

Indian engineering consultancy firm J.P Mukherji & Associates (JPMA) is expected to run Mumias Sugar under the operating directives of Kenyan mogul Julius Mwale’s company should it win the bid to control and revive the sugar business over a 15-year period.

JPMA provides consultancy services for sugar and allied industries in more than 30 countries across four continents. The company is known for managing assets owned by Dangote Sugar Refineries, a sugar-refining company founded by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote.

Recently, Mwale’s Tumaz and Tumaz Enterprises placed the highest bid of Ksh27.6 billion ($249.31 million) as part of a leasing tender to control and revive Mumias Sugar over a 15-year period.

This places him ahead of Kenyan steel tycoon Narendra Raval and Rai Group Chairman Jaswant Rai, who both expressed an interest in reviving the financially distressed sugar company.

Mumias Sugar is a Kenyan integrated sugar company founded in 1971. The company was once the largest sugar manufacturer in Kenya, producing as much as 250,000 metric tonnes of sugar per annum.

After it ran into a financial crisis in 2012 due to procedural and financial irregularities leading to a loss of millions of dollars, Kenya Commercial Bank Group placed the company under receivership in 2019 to revive the sugar producer and protect its assets.

Information gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that Mwale received a $200-million (Sh22.1 billion) loan commitment from a leading U.S. bank to strengthen his chances of taking home the lease in Mumias Sugar.

In a show of interest and commitment to revamping the Kenya-based sugar producer, Mwale offered Ksh2.2 billion ($20 million) to farmers in an effort to restore sugarcane farming and jumpstart cultivation and production.

In addition to the commitment, he also has plans to allocate KSh2.2 billion ($20 million), Ksh887 million ($8 million) and Ksh221 million ($2 million), respectively, to revive two ethanol plants owned by the company, so as to boost operating activities along the industrial value chain.

Mwale is the president and CEO of SBA Technologies, a New York-based company founded in 2003. He is also the lead investor in Mwale Medical and Technology City, a $2-billion community-owned sustainable metropolis in Kenya.

East Africa

Malagasy tycoon Hassanein Hiridjee says Africa needs to invest in clean energy transition

Hiridjee is one of Madagascar’s wealthiest and most powerful business leaders.

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Malagasy tycoon Hassanein Hiridjee.

Malagasy multimillionaire businessman and AXIAN Group CEO Hassanein Hiridjee has stated that Africa must invest in a clean energy transition to bolster the continent’s renewable energy capacity.

“We must double our commitment within Africa to increase investments to shape our own energy destiny in order to meet long-term goals,” Hiridjee said.

Millions of Africans could be lifted out of energy poverty with the right strategy and investment in clean energy transition projects stimulated by collective action from the private and public sectors, he said.

His statement comes after U.S. billionaire Michael Bloomberg pledged $242 million to assist developing countries, including African nations, in transitioning away from non-renewables.

Hiridjee explained that such funding is needed to combat Africa’s continuing energy crisis, in which hundreds of millions lack access to basic electricity.

He added that the lack of access to basic electricity is only worsening as a result of the war in Ukraine and COVID-19, with 25 million more Africans living without electricity than before the pandemic.

Infinity Group, a leading renewable energy company led by Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Mansour, recently partnered with the Africa Finance Corporation to acquire Lekela Power, making Infinity the continent’s largest renewable energy company.

Hiridjee, one of Madagascar’s wealthiest and most powerful business leaders, has also played a formative role in developing commercially viable energy solutions that provide Africans with efficient, long-term access to energy resources.

Earlier this year, Axian Group completed the expansion of the Ambatolampy solar power plant in Madagascar, from 20 to 40 MWp.

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East Africa

Ugandan tycoon Charles Mbire to pocket $1.15-million interim dividend from MTN Uganda

Mbire owns a significant 3.98-percent stake in the Ugandan telecom outfit.

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Charles Mbire.

Ugandan multimillionaire businessman Charles Mbire is on track to receive an interim dividend of Ush4.48 billion ($1.155 million) from his stake in MTN Uganda after the telecom group reported a double-digit percent increase in earnings in the first half of 2022.

MTN Uganda is Uganda’s leading telecom service operator.

Mbire, the chairman of MTN Uganda and one of Uganda’s wealthiest businessmen, owns a significant 3.98-percent stake in the Ugandan telecom outfit, which operates as the fourth operating subsidiary of the South African multinational mobile telecom company, MTN Group.

The interim dividend will be paid electronically into his bank account at a later date from the group’s retained earnings of Ush902 billion ($232.4 million) at the end of its 2022 fiscal year. It is his first dividend from the telecom company since its shares were listed more than eight months ago.

The dividend payment follows a significant rise in the group’s earnings in the first half of 2022 despite a 4.9-percent decline in voice revenue, as it looks set to replicate its stellar performance in 2021.

As a result of the company’s strong financial performance, the board of directors approved the payment of an interim dividend of Ush5 ($0.00128) per share for the six months ending June 30, totaling Ush11.95 billion ($28.9 million), which is subject to withholding taxes.

According to data retrieved from the company’s earnings report for the first six months of 2022, its profit increased by 48.1 percent to Ush193.6 billion ($50.2 million) in the first half of 2022, compared to Ush130.7 billion ($33.7 million) in the first half of 2021.

The double-digit increase in profit can be attributed to a 10-percent surge in the company’s service revenue, which was driven by a significant increase in data and fintech revenue, which were more than sufficient to offset the 4.9-percent decline in voice revenue.

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East Africa

Led by Kenyan founder Owen Sakawa, AI-powered startup Elloe acquires Flo by Saada

Elloe was founded in 2021 by Sakawa, Abhijay Rao, and Aaron Madolora.

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Owen Sakawa.

Elloe, a U.S.-based conversational commerce startup led by Kenyan tech entrepreneur Owen Sakawa, has acquired Flo by Saada nearly three months after raising more than $1 million in a pre-seed funding round led by institutional investors.

Flo by Saada is a Kenyan social commerce startup founded by Gerishon Mwaniki.

The acquisition of the startup, which launched in 2019 to enable small and medium enterprises to build solutions and process payments through USSD and programmable SMS, was completed for an undisclosed fee.

Through the acquisition, Elloe will be able to accelerate its next phase of growth by scaling operations for its corporate clients and expanding its footprint beyond its current operations in Kenya and the Philippines.

Commenting on the transaction in a press release obtained by Billionaires.Africa, Elloe CEO and Founder Owen Sakawa said: “The addition of Flo by Saada technology is a natural extension of Elloe’s offerings and fits perfectly into Elloe’s strategy. It transforms customer interactions from simple communications to conversations across the entire spectrum of customer engagement points.”

He added that Elloe will be better positioned to meet customers’ evolving needs in the future as it continues to provide businesses with embedded commerce capabilities to simplify the way that they serve, connect with, and sell to their own customers from anywhere, on any channel.

Elloe was founded in 2021 by Sakawa, Abhijay Rao, and Aaron Madolora as a first-of-its-kind AI-powered, conversational commerce platform that allows small and medium enterprises to buy and sell products online across messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram.

With its proprietary technology that assists small businesses in managing their digital sales and customer service through an omnichannel platform that runs on messaging apps, the startup hopes to capitalize on opportunities in the $35-billion conversational commerce market, which has the potential to reach $130 billion by 2025 in emerging markets.

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