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Centum shares begin trading in Uganda

KAMPALA, Uganda, Feb 10 – Centum Investment Company quest for regional expansion has taken a positive step forward, with the listed investment firm successfully completing its listing on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

At the start of trading, Centum traded 513,000 shares at UGX670 (Sh23.26) at the Ugandan bourse. Locally the investment firms stock was trading at Sh23.50. Centum will be putting up four million shares at the USE.

Centum becomes the sixth Kenyan company to list on the USE bringing the total number of companies listed to 13.

Speaking during the official listing, Centum Investment Chief Executive Officer James Mworia said the company was firmly on course in pursuing its ambition to be Africa\’s foremost investment channel by positioning itself at the heart of mobilising local capital for the region\’s projects.

"With Africa emerging as the newest frontier for economic activity, it is paramount that we invest our capital in our projects so that we are the ones in a prime position to reap the rewards," Mr Mworia said.

He told Ugandan investors that Centum as an investment vehicle was in a position to enable them gain equity ownership in private and public companies that they would ordinarily not have access.

This, he said, was crucial for the investment eager people of the region who – it had been observed – were keen to accumulate savings either individually or as groups.

"We are confident that as Centum explores the whole continent for investment opportunities, we will provide our shareholders with superior returns," he explained.

The cross-listing is expected to offer investors across East Africa an opportunity to access a diversified portfolio of quality investments that have consistently delivered market-beating returns.

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"We will offer investors a wide portfolio that provides them with access that they would otherwise not have to growing companies across a variety of sectors including financial services, beverages, motor vehicle assembly and publishing," he said.

By the year 2014, Centum is targeting half of its portfolio investments to be outside Kenya and plans to grow the assets under its management to Sh30 billion by the same year.

Mr Mworia said Centum had already committed $16 million (UGX 35 Billion) in real estate investments in Uganda. 

Centum has invested in a number of stocks at the Nairobi Stock Exchange, which form the bulk of its portfolio, including Safaricom, Nairobi Bottlers, British American Tobacco, Kenya Airways, East African Breweries, CMC Motors and Carbacid.

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