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Kenya’s Centum Investment to sell stake in drinks firms

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Kenya’s Centum Investment expects to complete a sale of its stakes in two drinks firms in the next four months, chief executive officer James Mworia said on Wednesday, after the company reported a 41 per cent rise in full-year pre-tax profit.

Centum, which invests in listed firms and private companies, 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 Ksh7.5 billion, which will result in finance cost savings of Ksh700 million,” Centum said in a statement.

Centum also said it planned to invest an extra Ksh10-15 billion via its private equity arm in the next five years. The company said it would look to invest in sectors it was already familiar with.

“For us, it’s eight sectors: financial services, consumer, agriculture, education, healthcare, IT, power and automotive sector,” Fred Murimi, managing director at Centum Capital, told Reuters. “But we are also open at looking at other sectors as well.”

Centum said its pre-tax profit for the year to the end of March rose to Ksh4.44 billion from Ksh3.15 billion the year before.

Its net asset value per share, a key measure of performance for investment firms, rose to Ksh79.1 from Ksh73.2 the previous year.

Investment income fell to Ksh3.2 billion from Ksh3.5 billion 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 from Ksh96.29 billion.

$1 = 101.0500 Kenyan shillings

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