Billionaire investor Kibunga Kimani has this year raised his stake in listed agriculture firm Kakuzi to 34.54 percent after purchasing an additional 431,434 shares with a current market value of Sh169.8 million, regulatory filings show.
Mr Kimani, who held 6.34 million Kakuzi shares at the end of last year, increased the stake to 6.77 million units by the first week of August, valuing his worth in the firm at Sh2.66 billion.
Mr Kimani, who joined Kakuzi’s board of directors in November 2020, got approval from the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) to raise his ownership to just under 40 percent.
The investor has steadily built his stake in the firm over the years from lows of two percent in 2005 but has always insisted that he doesn’t intend to launch a takeover of the company.
His latest purchase has further cemented his position as the second largest company owner behind British multinational Camellia Plc, which through its interests in Bordure Limited and Lintak Investments owns a controlling 50.7 percent stake in Kakuzi.
Besides the investment aspect of his purchases, Mr Kimani – who was brought up in one of Kakuzi’s estates—has bought into the company due to his historical association with the company.
He has particularly identified with the squatters living around the company’s land holdings, who have in the past levelled human rights abuse accusations against the firm.
In 2018, he set up a philanthropic vehicle, known as the Kakuzi Neighbourhoods Development Foundation, through which he would help the squatters own a part of the company.
The foundation had 216,598 Kakuzi shares as of August this year, unchanged from the end of 2021, worth Sh85.23 million as at yesterday’s closing share price of Sh393.50.
Mr Kimani had in 2018 indicated that he would give 300,000 Kakuzi shares to the foundation over five years and that it would also be funded through dividends accrued from its holdings.
The fund’s charitable activities would focus on improving sanitation and educating bright students from poor families living around the firm.
In the financial year ended December 2021, Kakuzi paid its shareholders a dividend of Sh22 per share, giving Mr Kimani a payout of Sh139.44 million, and the foundation Sh4.77 million.
The firm paid the dividend despite posting a 48.5 percent decline in profit after tax to Sh319 million for the year, on cyclic dips in productivity.