Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Little-known Kenyan entrepreneurs who own businesses worth billions of cash

Kenya is home to several entrepreneur billionaires who have amassed wealth through various investments and business ventures.

Here are four billionaire entrepreneurs who aren’t as popular, but who own businesses and investment ventures worth billions of cash.

Baloobhai Patel

Baloobhai Patel is one of Kenya’s most affluent billionaires, owning a plethora of shares in various companies.

He is the owner of Transworld Safaris Limited and has investments in multiple sectors, including manufacturing, banking, insurance, telecommunications, and construction.

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Patel has a vast portfolio in the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), which he manages through his investment vehicle, Aksaya Investments LLP.

In 2022, Patel increased his stake in Bamburi Cement by acquiring an additional 7.9 million shares worth Sh. 293.4 million.

This acquisition more than doubled his ownership in the company, from 7.02 million shares (1.94 percent) in 2020 to 14.9 million shares (4.12 percent) in the year ended December. He now holds the most significant individual shareholding in the company, valued at Sh. 553.4 million.

Patel is also the largest non-institutional shareholder in Pan African Insurance.

Patel’s investment strategy primarily focuses on blue-chip stocks that pay regular dividends and have a tradition of steady appreciation in stock price. He invests when the stock prices fall and rarely liquidates his stakes but lets them appreciate over time.

The billionaire has notable shares in various companies such as Carbacid Investments, Barclays Bank Kenya, Safaricom, Sankara Hotel, and Diamond Trust Bank Group. His investments and shares in public listed companies was estimated to stand at Sh. 5 billion as of 2022.

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Adil Popat

Adil Popat is a well-known business person who has achieved success in both the motor and hospitality industries.

Currently serving as the executive chairman at Simba Corporation, a diversified entity dealing with motor leasing, hospitality, real estate, investment, and financial services.

Popat’s LinkedIn profile indicates that he is responsible for the overall management and strategic direction of Simba Corporation.

The company deals in motor vehicle distribution, hospitality, real estate, investment, and financial services. Popat inherited his business acumen from his late father, Abdulkarim Popat, who left shares worth Sh. 3.4 billion in privately owned firms after his death in 2013.

Apart from his position at Simba Corporation, Popat is also the owner of the luxurious Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel in Nairobi. The hotel is one of the most prestigious hotels in Kenya and has been frequented by both local and international guests.

Sameer Merali

Sameer Merali, son of the late billionaire Naushad Merali, is among the wealthiest people in Kenya with an estimated net worth of Sh. 89.6 billion.

He is the Chief Executive Officer of Sameer Investments Limited, a company that has diversified interests in manufacturing, telecommunications, banking, real estate, and agriculture.

Sameer Investments Ltd is credited for the tremendous success of Sameer Group of Companies, a conglomerate of 15 Kenyan companies with an annual turnover of over USD 1.5 billion.

Sameer Agriculture and Livestock Limited, a joint venture of Sameer Group and Rj Corp, is involved in cattle ranching and farming, and produces dairy products brands such as Slurrp, Creamy, Daima, and Creambell. Nandi Tea Estates Limited, a private company, is specialized in producing high-quality Kenyan tea.

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Sameer Merali also owns Frontier Optical Networks Ltd, Rivaan Centre, Muthaiga Heights, and PESABAZAAR.com.

A report by Oxfam International Limited in January 2022 ranked Sameer Merali among the three individuals who had overtaken President Uhuru Kenyatta’s family as the wealthiest people in the country.

Pius Ngugi

Pius Ngugi is a prominent Kenyan businessman and owner of the Kenya Nut Company, which specializes in exporting macadamia and cashew nuts worldwide.

Established in 1972, the company has diversified to include coffee, chocolates, and oils. With farms covering over 8,000 acres, the Kenya Nut Company employs more than 4,000 people and earned revenues of Sh. 6.5 billion in 2016.

In addition to his ownership of the Kenya Nut Company, Ngugi is also a shareholder in several other companies. He owns Thika Coffee Mills and holds shares in Kenya Alliance Insurance, which boasts an asset base in excess of Sh. 6.8 billion and a paid-up capital of Sh. 700 million.

Ngugi is also a shareholder in the Tatu City project, one of Kenya’s special economic zones projects. Tatu City is a new city spanning 5,000 acres with plans for homes, schools, offices, shopping, medical clinics, nature areas, and a sports and entertainment complex.

The project, located 18km from the Nairobi CBD, is expected to accommodate over 250,000 residents once completed.

While he is known for his business ventures, Ngugi has also made headlines for his personal life.

He is married to Josephine Wambui and has two children with Nairobi woman representative Esther Passaris.

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