Centum sees 2014 after tax profit soar 160pc to Sh7.9bn

Centum CEO James Mworia. PHOTO | FILE

Centum Investments has reported a record consolidated profit after tax of Sh7.9 billion for the financial year ended March 31 this year.

This is up 160 per cent from Sh3 billion in the previous period and is due to gains on disposals of investments, increase in value of property held, higher dividends from portfolio companies and higher income from subsidiaries.

Investment income increased by 142 per cent to Sh11.8 billion from the previous year’s Sh4.9 billion, in large part thanks to the disposal of stakes in Longhorn Publishers and UAP Holdings.

Chief Executive James Mworia noted the company’s net asset value per share has increased by 39 per cent from Sh34.47 to Sh48, with shareholder wealth growing by the same margin from Sh22.9 billion to Sh31.9 billion.

“In keeping with the company’s five year (Centum 3.0) strategy for the period 2014 to 2019, the board will not distribute any dividends,” the firm said in a statement to the media Wednesday.

Centum is abandoning its historic approach as a portfolio investor in favour of “being an active developer of investment grade opportunities”.

This new strategy will see the firm venture into new sectors, including agriculture, education and healthcare.

“Looking forward, we should be able to perform even better,” Mworia said at the briefing. “We have a very strong pipeline of opportunities not yet contributing to the bottom line.”

Key developments for the company in the financial year just ended include:

  • The purchase of a larger stake in Almasi Beverages, a leading Coca Cola bottler. Centum now owns 50.95 per cent of the bottler.

  • The establishment of King Beverage Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary to market, sell and some-day produce alcoholic beverages. The firm has an exclusive licence to distribute Carlsberg beer.

  • Winning a tender, as lead equity investor in a consortium with Gulf Energy, to build a 1.050MW coal plant in Manda Bay, Lamu County.

  • Acquisition of 66 per cent of K-Rep Bank in November 2014. Centum intends to allocate Sh3.6 billion from its recent Sh6 billion bond issue mainly as additional capital in the bank.

  • An agreement in January this year to have Centum and director Chris Kirubi sell their combined 23.3 per cent stake in UAP Holdings to Old Mutual Plc for about Sh6.8 billion ($75 million). The company had a holding of 13.75 per cent and was to get about Sh4 billion from the deal.

  • Beginning construction of the show-house cluster for Pearl Marina, the company’s first real estate project in Uganda, in March this year.

The company also says it is on course to complete its Two Rivers project, pitched as the largest retail mall in sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa.

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