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CEO James Mworia says as promised in 2014, the board has decided to review the no-dividend policy issued in 2009 since the company has now been able to sustain its investment growth/DUNCAN NDIRANGU

Kenya

Centum declares first dividend since 2008 as profit rises

CEO James Mworia says as promised in 2014, the board has decided to review the no-dividend policy issued in 2009 since the company has now been able to sustain its investment growth/DUNCAN NDIRANGU

CEO James Mworia says as promised in 2014, the board has decided to review the no-dividend policy issued in 2009 since the company has now been able to sustain its investment growth/KEVIN GITAU

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 8- Centum Investment Group has issued a final dividend payout of Sh1 per share to shareholders, the first time since 2008.

CEO James Mworia says as promised in 2014, the board has decided to review the no-dividend policy issued in 2009 since the company has now been able to sustain its investment growth.

The policy was taken to allow the company retain its strong capital for further investments.

“In 2009 when we adopted this policy we had a balance sheet of Sh6 billion of which cash was only Sh10 million and an overdraft of Sh175 million. That is what we started working off with to what we are today. And so we have now reviewed the issue around dividend and eight or I think seven years later, we now believe we are in a position to pay a good dividend to our shareholders,” Mworia said on Wednesday.

The total dividend payout is Sh660 million which Mworia says is among top 15 dividend payouts among listed companies.

He was speaking during the release of Centum results for the full year 2016 where the group recorded a 25 percent net profit growth to Sh9.9billion compared to Sh7.9billion recorded in 2015.

The improved group performance was largely due to Sh5.4 billion gains realised from exits in its portfolio like AON and disposal of UAP to Old Mutual. The firm had gross proceeds of Sh6.2bn from exits thereby boosting its liquidity position.

The company is moving towards an investment holding company model where focus will mainly be on developing assets rather than portfolio investing.

Within the year, Centum projects attracted Shs13.9billion in foreign direct investments (FDI) in 2015, an estimated 9 percent of Kenya’s FDI.

One of the major projects that has attracted huge investments include the Two Rivers Development project. Centum holds 58 percent stake in the Two Rivers Holding Company, which holds 50 percent stake in the Two Rivers lifestyle centre.

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According to management, the opening of the mall has been pushed further to quarter four 2016 due to challenges especially in getting raw materials.

“We had a very ambitious target to begin with because we thought we would do this project within 18 months, but we had a number of logistical challenges especially the supply of raw materials. An example is glass. The total glass capacity was not enough to sustain this development,” Mworia explained.

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