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Billionaire tightens his grip on KenGen with share purchase

KenGen shareholders tour the OlKariageothermal plant in Naivasha. Mr Karim Jamal  increased his stake from 12 million shares in January to 16.3 million shares in May. File
KenGen shareholders tour the Olkaria geothermal plant in Naivasha. File 

Billionaire businessman Karim Jamal has tightened his grip on KenGen after increasing his stake in the power generator that is witnessing the exit of small investors.

Regulatory filings show that Mr Jamal increased his stake from 12 million shares in January to 16.3 million shares by May, cementing his position as the firm’s largest shareholder behind the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and Treasury.

NSSF owns 21 million shares in the company that is owned 70 per cent by the government. The other 30 per cent stake was sold to the public through a 2005 initial public offer that raised more than Sh26 billion against a target of Sh7.9 billion.

Mr Jamal has been consolidating his stake in the power firm that is seeing the exit of small investors since its 2005 IPO.

KenGen’s latest shareholder reports indicates that the company now has 199,428 shareholders in its register, yet the initial sale of shares saw investors’ rise to more than 280,000.

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Records show that high net investors have accumulated millions of shares from an initial allocation of 6,600 shares while the stake held by investors with less than 10,000 shares has dropped to 12.35 per cent in May down from 14.4 per cent in June 2009 and 25 per cent in 2006.

The KenGen IPO is credited with ushering retail investors into the Nairobi Securities Exchange, which was one of the government’s objectives during the initial share sale.

Mr Jamal is one of the leading retail investors at the Nairobi bourse and little is known about him.

He is estimated to own shares worth more than Sh2.5 billion, with significant holdings in firms like Kenya Power, Mumias Sugar, Uchumi Supermarket, Sameer, Sasini and Kakuzi.

Mr Jamal’s stake in KenGen is currently worth Sh247.9 million based on the firm’s current share price of Sh15.15.

The share price has increased 70 per cent since the start of the year in a period that has seen most counters at the Nairobi bourse rise by double-digits.

KenGen’s profit stood at Sh2.4 billion in 2007 and rose to Sh3.2 billion in 2010 before slipping to Sh2.8 billion in the year to last June.
This helped it raise its dividend 20 per cent to Sh0.60 a share from Sh0.50, a payout it has maintained since 2008.

The firm is in the middle of searching for a new CEO after Eddy Njoroge quit on Friday after a 10 year stint.

 

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