NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 28 – General Motors East Africa has sold its entire shareholding of the company to Isuzu Motors at an undisclosed price.
The change of ownership is expected to see the number of vehicles manufactured rise from the current 5,000 to 11,000.
Following the buyout – which is still subject to approval from the Competition of Authority of Kenya and COMESA – Isuzu will acquire 57.7 percent of the company, making it the majority shareholder.
Other shareholders include Centum which owns 17.8 percent, Kenya’s Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation which owns 20 percent and Itochu Corporation which owns 4.5 percent.
General Motors President and Managing Director of Africa and Middle-East Operations Mario Spangenberg said the decision was informed by Isuzu’s successful performance in the industry, where it has remained the leader in the past five years.
“95 percent of our sales in Kenya are Isuzu products, so it is only natural to hand over the business,” Spangenberg said, adding that only 5 percent of sales made are General Motors products.
Currently, GM enjoys 35.1 percent market share in the country, making it the market leader.
General Motors will be re-branded to ‘Isuzu East Africa’ as the Japanese motor maker takes over the management of the company.
Isuzu Motor’s Shinsuke Minami, however, clarified that minimal changes will be done at the company with operations continuing as usual.
“Employees do not need to worry about their jobs as they are secure,” Minami said.
Isuzu has also clarified Chevrolet customers will continue to receive after sales and service support.
GM East Africa Managing Director Rita Kavashe – who will retain her Managing Director position of the newly branded company – said that the buyout is subject to the approval of the Competition Authority of Kenya and COMESA due in a month’s time.
The two companies first joined hands in 1976 and have been in a long-standing partnership spanning over 40 years in the country. To date, the company has assembled over 80,000 units.