Shareholder Chris Kirubi buys additional US$835k worth of Centum shares

KENYA – Investor Chris Kirubi has purchased an additional 5.75 million shares of Centum Investment Company with a current market value of US$835,224, embarking on his target of acquiring an extra 20 per cent stake in the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm.

The businessman announced on March 23 last year that he would up his stake to 49.99 per cent from the 30 per cent he held at the time, with the move coming after the share price fell further as the Covid-19 pandemic induced panic trades at the Nairobi bourse.

Latest regulatory filings at Capital Markets Authority of Kenya show that the businessman’s holding of Centum shares had risen to 205.9 million as of December 2020 equivalent to a 30.9 per cent stake.

That essentially means that Mr Kirubi’s stake in the company which has diverse investments ranging from real estate, private equity and marketable securities is now valued at US$3.3 million.

Centum stock traded at an average of US$0.15 yesterday at the Nairobi Security Exchange (NSE), having shed 43.6 per cent over the past 12 months with the share price marking a deep discount of 76.4 per cent compared to the firm’s last reported net asset value per share of US$0.62.

Mr Kirubi has previously said he would only sell his shares at a price of more than US$0.91 apiece, implying that the prevailing market price represents a major undervaluation of the firm’s worth.

“The businessman received Capital Markets Authority approval to progressively raise his shareholding in Centum through buying shares in the open market without making a mandatory takeover offer to other shareholders”

Like most other stocks on the NSE, Centum has been the victim of the prolonged bear market that got new momentum from the pandemic.

Mr Kirubi received Capital Markets Authority approval to progressively raise his shareholding in Centum through buying shares in the open market without making a mandatory takeover offer to other shareholders.

The businessman has said that the additional share purchases are founded on his confidence in the future prospects and long-term strategic direction of the company.

To acquire the extra 20 per cent stake in the company, he will have to buy more than 133 million shares with a current market value of US$19 million.

While Mr Kirubi has investments in many companies, including International House in Nairobi’s Central Business District and Bayer East Africa, Centum has come to represent a substantial part of his wealth.

His holding in the investment firm was valued at highs of US$108.9 million in 2015 –the year when the last bull market at Nairobi Securities Exchange ended.

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