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UK sovereign fund appoints two on ARM Cement board

An employee of ARM Cement packages cement at the firm's Athi River plant. FILE
An employee of ARM Cement packages cement at the firm's Athi River plant. FILE 

UK’s sovereign wealth fund CDC Group has appointed two directors to the board of cement manufacturer ARM in which it recently acquired a 40.6 per cent stake for Sh14.1 billion.

The fund appointed Pepe Meijer and Ketso Gordhan to the board of the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed company.

Investment banker John Ngumi was also simultaneously appointed as an independent director of the firm.

The three new appointments coincided with the exit of three board members —finance director Atul Mathur and non-executive directors Daniel Ndonye and Michael Turner. Mr Mathur’s replacement is expected to be picked in the coming days.

The new directors will help drive the company’s strategy at a time when it is in the middle of a regional expansion plan.

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Mr Meijer is a CDC adviser and has worked in the gold mining industry, among other sectors.

Mr Gordhan is the head of CDC’s Africa operations. He previously spent several years as chief executive of PPC Cement, South Africa’s largest cement company.

Mr Ngumi is expected to bring his investment banking expertise to ARM, having advised and structured several fundraising deals for the company in the past few years.

The cement manufacturer is expected to retire or restructure its multi-billion-shilling loans that pulled it into a loss position, prompting it to seek the new funding from CDC.

ARM had a total of Sh22 billion in overdrafts and medium term loans as of December last year.

Besides reducing the company’s debt burden, the cash from CDC will also be used to fuel ARM’s expansion plans in the region.

CDC, which said it has invested in ARM for the long term, noted that one of the company’s priority projects is the planned cement plant in Kitui.

The boardroom changes have seen Mr Ndonye comply with Capital Markets Authority’s recommendation that caps an individual’s directorships in listed companies at three.

Mr Ndonye’s remaining directorships are at agricultural firm Kakuzi, banking group I&M Holdings and oil marketer KenolKobil.

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