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Liquor mogul Tabitha Karanja’s Keroche Breweries ready to accept legal decision in war with EABL

Keroche is a strong competitor for the British-controlled EABL, holding a 29-percent share of Kenya’s alcoholic beverage market.

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Kenyan liquor mogul Tabitha Karanja.

Kenyan liquor mogul Tabitha Karanja’s Keroche Breweries is ready to accept the Competitions Authority of Kenya’s (CAK) decision in its protracted bottle war with East African Breweries Ltd. (EABL). 

The Star quoted Karanja saying: “We welcome the decision by the High Court to have our case resolved by the Competitions Authority in Kenya within four months.”

A few days ago, Alfred Mabeya, the Meru High Court presiding judge, referred the case against EABL to the CAK with the order to complete its investigation within 120 days. 

The court will make a decision concerning the matter after the CAK concludes.

“Accordingly, I uphold the preliminary objection and strike out the application and plaint. I direct that the third defendant (CAK) to continue with the process it had commenced in respect of the complaint touching on the complaint herein and deal with it as per the law provided,” Justice Mabeya ruled, as reported by Kahawa Tungu.

The decision comes after a months-long legal battle over the use of 500-milliliter brown beer bottles imported into the Kenyan market. 

Having an approximate 70-percent share of the market, EABL embosses its logo on the imported bottles it purchases, while Keroche does not. The bottles have universal shapes and color and were not specially manufactured for one person. Technically, EABL’s branding gives it some level of rights to its bottles, for which it has no legal patent. 

In fact, CIPIT reported that EABL placed an advertisement informing the public of ownership over bottles and crates embossed with its trademark. The company stated that it would institute legal action against anyone found using the bottles. Seemingly in a rejoinder, Keroche issued a notice, stating that the exclusive use of the brown bottles was irrational, unreasonable, an abuse of intellectual property (of the manufacturer), and misuse of dominance.

The move has given EABL a market advantage, as it is able to pick up Keroche’s bottles after they have been used, emboss them and reuse them, leaving the local brewer with a limited amount of bottles for production, while flooding the market with its products.

Therefore, in 2020, Keroche opted to open a legal case against EABL, Business Daily reported, arguing that the imported bottles should be available for everyone’s use.

Keroche and other distributors claimed that EABL’s logo limits their market access and production. Keroche believes the EABL is employing the strategy to lock out investors and other breweries that use the 500-milliliter brown bottle from the liquor business.

Keroche is a strong competitor for the British-controlled EABL, holding a 29-percent share of Kenya’s alcoholic beverage market. In April, it announced that its new expansion strategy could see the Kenya Revenue Authority generate over Ksh1 billion ($92.7 million) annually.

East Africa

Aga Khan IV-backed Jubilee to receive $2.27 million from sale of Mauritian insurance subsidiary

Jubilee Holdings is a Kenyan investment holding company.

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Aga Khan IV.

Jubilee Holdings is on course to pocket a total of Ksh270 million ($2.26 million) from the sale of a 54.15-percent stake in its Mauritian subsidiary Jubilee Insurance Company of Mauritius Limited to Allianz SE.

Alliansz SE is a German multinational financial services company headquartered in Munich.

The transaction is the fifth to be concluded under a 2020 agreement in which Allianz began the process of purchasing majority stakes in Jubilee’s general insurance units in five countries, including Mauritius.

“We expect to close the Mauritius transaction in September… For Jubilee, the total consideration is Sh270 million,” Nizar Juma, chairman of Jubilee Holdings, said, setting the timeline for the $2.26-million deal with the German multinational insurer.

Jubilee Holdings is a Kenyan investment holding company with active operations and investments in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and Mauritius. It owns 88.15 percent of Jubilee Insurance Company of Mauritius Limited.

Shah Karim al-Husayni, also known as Aga Khan IV, is best known for founding Nation Media Group, Africa’s largest independent media organization. Through the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, he owns 37.98 percent of Jubilee Holdings and 11.85 percent of its Mauritian subsidiary.

According to BusinessDaily, Allianz will purchase additional shares from Aga Khan IV, who will sell his 11.85-percent stake in the Mauritian subsidiary as part of the deal.

With the deal expected to close next month, Jubilee Holdings will see its ownership interest drop to 34 percent as part of its partial divestiture in its general insurance businesses, which follows the sale of similar assets in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Burundi.

Over two months ago, Jubilee received Ksh1.4 billion ($11.7 million) from the sale of a majority stake in its Tanzanian general insurance business to Allianz.

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East Africa

Kenyan banking exec Andrew Ndegwa gains $1.5 million in 43 days from investment in NCBA Group

Ndegwa, an executive director of First Chartered Securities Limited, owns 4.3 percent of NCBA Group.

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Andrew Ndegwa.

After losing a sizable portion of its market capitalization in the first half of 2022, NCBA Group has seen its share price soar above its opening price at the start of this year.

NCBA Group is a financial services conglomerate based in Kenya.

Due to the recent gains in the company’s share price, Kenyan banking tycoon Andrew Ndegwa has seen the market value of his stake in the conglomerate increase by more than $1.5 million over the past 43 days.

As of press time on Aug. 12, shares in NCBA Group were trading at Ksh26.2 ($0.22), 4.73-percent less than their opening price this morning as wary investors took advantage of the high price to sell off some of their positions in the bank.

Since June 30, shares in the Nairobi-based financial services provider have risen by 11 percent, from Ksh23.6 ($0.198) per share to Ksh26.2 ($0.22) per share, driven by a resurgence in buying interest among market participants.

Ndegwa, an executive director of First Chartered Securities Limited, owns 4.3 percent of NCBA Group. He has seen the market value of his stake rise from Ksh1.67 billion ($14.02 million) on June 30 to Ksh1.86 billion ($15.57 million) due to the recent bullish sentiment on the NSE floor.

As a result, the banking tycoon has gained a total of Ksh184.36 million ($1.54 million) over the past 43 days, solidifying his status once more as one of the wealthiest investors on the NSE.

Meanwhile, James Ndegwa, his brother and the former head of Kenya’s capital markets authority, has seen his 4.23-percent stake in NCBA Group increase by $1.47 million over this same period.

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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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