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Centum posts massive 110pc growth

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 8 – Centum Investment has posted a 110 percent growth in its net income which stood at Sh2.2 billion for the financial year ended March 31.

This was an impressive growth from the Sh1.1 billion posted a year earlier.

Briefing investors on Tuesday, Centum Chief Executive Officer James Mworia attributed the growth to a 54 percent growth in its assets under management to Sh15 billion shillings from Sh9.8 billion.

Despite the stellar performance, Mr Mworia said there was still room for the listed investment firm to post even better returns and create more value for its shareholders.

"These results are good but we are not satisfied with them until we are a significant player in the African investment space," Mr Mworia said.

Centum runs three business lines which all reported impressive growth. Its private equity line, which is the firm\’s flagship business, was up 57 percent contributing Sh7.6 billion. Real estate stood at Sh3.5 billion while quoted private equity brought in Sh3.9 billion.

Centum\’s mix of investments has enabled the company outperform the Nairobi Stock Exchange in terms of shareholder returns. Centum has invested in a number of counters at the Nairobi Stock Exchange (private equity), including Safaricom, British American Tobacco, Kenya Airways, Barclays Bank, East African Breweries and CMC Motors.

Its investments in quoted companies outperformed the NSE-20 Share Index by 14 percent.

"Our strategy is to continually outperform the market. Centum records a return of 37 percent on opening shareholder funds against the NSE Index which declined by five percent in the comparable period," Mr Mworia said.

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It holds stakes in private companies like NAS Airport Services, UAP Insurance, K-Rep Bank, General Motors, AON Minet Insurers, and Nairobi Bottlers, among others.

In quoted stock investments, Centum intends to increase its stake in a number of blue chip companies. Private equity comprises investments of between $2 million to $20 million in companies in the financial services, beverages and education industries.

"We want to scale up our minimum investment size in some of these companies. In some we shall go in with a strategic partner so that we are not over exposed in the market," he said without giving details on the companies.

At the same time, he highlighted that at least two companies had reached maturity, and that Centum would soon be exiting those companies.

In the real estate industry, the company has acquired 100 acres in Runda Kenya and another 300 acres in Entebbe Uganda on the shores of Lake Victoria. Centum plans to zone the land for residential and commercial use.

On infrastructure development the company is looking to venture into the energy generation space and has already engaged the Geothermal development Company.

"As Centum we have the capacity to mobilise local capital to invest in energy projects," Mr Mworia said.

In February, Centum listed on the Ugandan Securities Exchange and is looking at both the Dar-es-Salaam and Rwanda bourses.

The firm has a target of growing its assets under management to Sh30 billion by 2014. In line with its pan African growth strategy, Mr Mworia said he intends to have half of those assets outside Kenya.

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Earnings per share rose to Sh3.79 from Sh1.81. However, in line with the firms zero dividend policy, Centum announced a bonus share issue of one for every 10 held.

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