SportPesa Owners: Despite being a reclusive businessman, billionaire entrepreneur Paul Ndung’u is a regarded as one of the most shrewd billionaires in the country.
The billionaire, who is a shareholder and non-executive director of Life Care Medics, recently told the Business Daily that he is now investing in private companies with the potential to capture the regional market as part of his plan to diversify from the Nairobi Securities Exchange.
“I have invested in eight private companies. I’m currently evaluating others,” he said. The list of private companies he has founded, acquired or bought into includes a sports betting firm, and G-North & Son, an agricultural and hospitality equipment distributor he bought from the Philip Ndegwa family.
Whether by design or sheer luck, Mr. Ndung’u’s fortunes have enabled him to cultivate a circle of powerful and high profile friends, including the family of retired president Mwai Kibaki and the current president Uhuru Kenyatta.
However, he disputed that these connections have helped to nail lucrative deals or grow his businesses. “I am a businessman, not a politician. It’s sad when a legitimate business is caught up in a political circus,” he said. Recently one of his firms Life Care Medics was claimed to have been paid Sh. 201 million by the Ministry of Health to make deliveries.
According to Mr. Ndung’u, his wealth has been built on good investment decisions. He says that increased investment in private firms are meant to absorb and grow cash generated from his portfolio of stocks and foreign exchange bureaus.
His first job was at Uchumi Supermarkets as an accounting clerk in 1991, a position he held for two years before joining Pioneer Assurance, then trading as Pioneer general Assurance.
It was here that he held the dual roles of chief accountant and investment officer and honed his skills as stock picker. He ranks among the top shareholders in Kenya Airways, Kenya Re, Home Afrika, Crown Paints, Housing Finance, Uchumi Supermarkets, Olympia and has interests in other listed firms. In 2000s, his portfolio on the NSE at one point peaked at Sh. 4 billion.