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IFC report reveals Vimal and Shah family stakes in Bidco

Bidco chief executive officer Vimal Shah during the interview in his Thika Plant office last week. Photo/Diana Ngila
Bidco chief executive officer Vimal Shah during the interview in his Thika Plant office. FILE PHOTO | DIANA NGILA |   NATION MEDIA GROUP

Billionaire businessman Vimal Shah has equal shareholding as his father Bhimji Shah and brother Tarun Shah in cooking oils multinational Bidco, documents filed with the World Bank’s private lending arm IFC have shown.

The revelation confirms his insistence Forbes magazine erred in listing him as a dollar billionaire in 2013.

Vimal, who is the managing director and public face of Bidco which sells edible oils and washing detergents across Africa, controls 33.3 per cent shares of the company according to disclosures made by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private lending arm.

His father and his brother also have 33.3 per cent shareholding in the Thika-based manufacturer.

The shareholding structure of the Kenyan-grown multinational has remained a closely guarded family secret for the 45 years that company has been in existence.

“Bidco is a family business owned by father and founder Bhimji Depar Shah 33.3 per cent, and sons Tarun Shah 33.3 per cent and Vimal Shah 33.3 per cent through an intermediate investment holding company called Hemby Holdings Limited,” IFC says in the filings seen by the Business Daily.

Bidco is one of Kenya’s largest privately-owned manufacturing concerns with a turnover estimated at Sh46 billion as at 2013.

The shareholding structure is part of disclosures made to the World Bank’s private lending which the manufacturer has approached for a Sh2.1 billion loan and a further syndicated debt of Sh1.23 billion, bringing the total IFC-linked advance to Sh3.33 billion.

“The company (Bidco) has recorded extremely high growth rates over the past few years and is well positioned for this expansion,” the IFC notes in its documents.

The money, which is yet to be disbursed, will be used to expand Bidco’s Thika-based plant as well as construct a new factory on the same land in Kiambu County.

Bidco has already announced plans to venture into the lucrative soft drinks market with a Sh1.7 billion beverage plant that will set it up against multinationals such as Coca Cola and Del Monte.

“The move is in line with our expansion plan to play in even more categories of fast-moving consumer goods other than those we are already in,” Mr Shah told the Business Daily in a past interview.

Bidco has evolved from a garment factory founded in 1970 by the family patriarch Mr Bhimji Shah to one of the region’s largest fast-moving consumer goods companies in the region. The company has grown its portfolio to over 23 brands including edible oils, cooking fats, soaps, baking powder, animal feeds and detergents.

Bidco currently commands a market share of over 60 per cent in the cooking fat category and 54 per cent of cooking oil market in Kenya, according to Consumer Insight.

Vimal has remained the spokesman and public face of the company while his father and younger brother Tarun all maintain a low profile.

Bidco’s shareholding structure and the company worth have similarly — and expected for a privately-owned company — been maintained as an in-house affair.

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