Kenya’s Centum Investment now wants to dump its shares worth $192.5 million to repay bank loans even as its profits soar

Centum Investment chief executive officer James Mworia.
  • On Wednesday, Centum Investment chief executive officer James Mworia, said the firm expects to complete a sale of its stakes in two drinks firms in the next four months.
  • Centum said it had entered an agreement to sell its stakes in Almasi Beverages Limited and Nairobi Bottlers, with a total valuation of Ksh19.5 billion ($192.5 million), to Coca Cola Beverages Africa.
  • Centum, which invests in listed firms and private companies, said its pre-tax profit for the year to the end of March rose to Sh4.44 billion ($44.4 million) from Sh3.15 billion ($31.5 million) the year before.

One of Kenya’s biggest investment firms which also doubles up as East Africa's leading investment company listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange and Uganda Securities Exchange is planning to offset some of its shares worth billions.

On Wednesday, Centum Investment chief executive officer James Mworia, while disclosing the company had reported a 41% rise in full-year pre-tax profit, said the firm expects to complete a sale of its stakes in two drinks firms in the next four months.

Centum said it had entered an agreement to sell its stakes in Almasi Beverages Limited and Nairobi Bottlers, with a total valuation of Ksh19.5 billion ($192.5 million), to Coca Cola Beverages Africa.

The transactions are subject to regulatory approval, it added.

“The proceeds from these transactions will be applied towards repaying our current US dollar-denominated bank term loans of Sh7.5 billion, which will result in finance cost savings of Sh700 million,” Centum said in a statement.

Centum, which invests in listed firms and private companies, said its pre-tax profit for the year to the end of March rose to Sh4.44 billion ($44.4 million) from Sh3.15 billion ($31.5 million) the year before.

Its net asset value per share, a key measure of performance for investment firms, rose to Sh79.1 from Sh73.2 the previous year.

Investment income, however, fell to Sh3.2 billion ($32 million) from Ksh3.5 billion (35 million) the year before, due to the sale of one of its businesses, GenAfrica Asset Managers, in the previous financial year.

Centum, which also has shares in a vehicle assembly, catering company, publisher and commercial bank, said its total assets rose to Ksh101.76 billion ($1.0176 billion) from Ksh96.29 billion ($962.9 billion.

In the next five years, Centum plans to invest an extra Ksh10-15 billion via its private equity arm.

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