Why I sold my stake in UAP Holdings – Dr Kirubi

Kirubi and Centum Investments sold 9.58 and 13.78 percent respectively in UAP to Old Mutual Group. Photo/ CAPITAL FM

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 5 – The vibrant performance of the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) has seen investors gain handsome returns from the appreciation of stock market wealth.

Investors have built up their fortune through consistent accumulation of free floating shares at the Nairobi bourse.

Among the investors include renowned Industrialist Dr Chris Kirubi, who recently pocketed a cool Sh3.8 billion from offloading his shares at UAP holdings.

Last month Kirubi and Centum Investments sold 9.58 and 13.78 percent respectively in UAP to Old Mutual Group attracting a lot of attention, having been an investor in UAP for over 10 years.

In an interview with Capital FM Business, Kirubi who is also the Chairman of Centum Investments, gives three reasons for leaving UAP.

1. The Investment was ripe

Our decision to sell our stake at UAP holdings was very strategic; UAP had matured in our hands and we thought it’s time we just allow somebody else to take it to another level.

If I had sold my stake alone, it was too small for an investor, if Centum sold their stake alone it was also a small investment to attract an investor who was keen to invest on a long term basis.

When we found Old Mutual had the same vision, we decided we will work with them; they had very good ideas and very good plans of where they were going to take the business.

We felt Old Mutual will add a lot of value to the company.

Since we sold, they have also been able to negotiate with other shareholders getting a controlling stake at the company.

2. To diversify Investments

Centum has so many projects at hand. We have the power projects, one the Coal Power Plant in Lamu which requires about $2 billion (Sh183 billion), we have a geothermal project in Naivasha that also requires a lot of money.

We are hopeful that we will resolve our issues to buy out REA Vipingo Plantations.

We are also developing the largest mall in East and Central Africa with a lot of complexes that include restaurants, entertainment in Two Rivers where we have 100 acres of land.

We, at the same time, we had just bought K-REP Bank (66 percent stake at Sh2.5 billion), a company that had stagnated for so long and we plan to transform it to make it what we dream it should be. We are now doing strategic studies into the bank that includes use of technology, human resource to figure out the capital we need to invest in it.

3. To make profit

In very investment, you have to make money, people will be asking why I am selling this and that; I sell at the right time, get my money and walk away.

I have traded with all my shares, I used to be one of the top 10 shareholders at KCB Bank and I have sold my shares. I used to be a major Shareholder in British America Tobacco (BAT) as well as EABL, all these companies you buy at the right time… you offload at the right time, that requires one to understand the dynamics of business.

Offload at the highest and buy at the lowest this is a skill you need to acquire.

KENNEDY KANGETHE :Kennedy is a Bachelor of Arts in Communication graduate from St. Paul's University and has been writing for the Capital FM Business Desk since 2013, Besides business news, he enjoys traveling, public speaking and singing