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Tiger Brands weighs Kenya options after Kirubi stake buyback

Billionaire businessman Chris Kirubi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Billionaire businessman Chris Kirubi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

South African firm Tiger Brands has said it plans to keeping its products on Kenyan shelves even after concluding sale of its majority stake in Haco back to billionaire businessman Chris Kirubi.

Tiger Brands acquired 51 per cent stake in Haco in 2008.

In February this year, however, the South African firm and Mr Kirubi announced that they had reached a deal in which the businessman would buy back Tiger Brands’ interest in the company.

The transaction raised questions about the future of Tiger Brands products that are currently sold by Haco.

The Johannesburg-listed firm now says it has no intention of completely quitting the Kenyan market.

“Tiger Brands expects to continue to trade its other products in the Kenyan market either with (our) current partner or other partners,” Tiger Brands said in a statement to the Business Daily.

Mr Kirubi in a telephone interview last week declined to comment on the future of Tiger Brands products in Kenya, only saying that negotiations were still ongoing.

Haco manufactures and distributes consumer products in licence deals with a number of international companies.

Tiger Brands products sold by Haco in Kenya include Purity (baby food), Tastic (rice and spaghetti), Ingram (personal care), and All Gold (ketchup).

In February Tiger Brands said that the decision to exit Haco came after a realisation that the Kenyan firm’s strategy of manufacturing and distributing products under licence was not “aligned” with the South African firm’s model of “owning leading FMCG brands”.

“Taking into account these factors, it was decided that Haco would be better positioned under local Kenyan leadership and control…. This has culminated in the local partner making an offer for Tiger Brands’ 51 per cent shareholding at a price that was considered fair,” said Tiger Brands in a February statement.

The sale of Tiger Brands’ stake in Haco also came two years after the unearthing of accounting irregularities at Haco.

Tiger Brands later estimated that the fraud had cost the company R50 million.

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