Individuals living around Kakuzi more than doubled their stake in the listed agricultural firm to a new high of 2.38 percent in the year ended December through transactions valued at about Sh101.5 million.
The investors, through Kakuzi Neighbourhoods Development Foundation, increased their ownership by 250,000 shares to 466,598 shares.
The share purchases cost the foundation about Sh101.5 million going by Kakuzi’s average share price of Sh405.80 on the Nairobi Securities Exchange last year.
The foundation is backed by former Kakuzi squatter John Kibunga Kimani who has the second-largest stake in the company at 33.27 percent.
The businessman, who was raised in Kakuzi’s estates, runs various charities and development initiatives in the community.
The foundation formed to boost the economic welfare of the community first acquired 148,500 shares in the year ended December 2018 when it was ranked eighth on the list of the company’s top shareholders.
The foundation now ranks fourth behind UK multinational Camellia Plc which has a consolidated 50.7 percent stake through its investment vehicles Lintak Investments Limited (24.64 percent stake) and Bordure Limited (26.06 percent).
The increased share purchases by the foundation came in a period when Mr Kimani's shareholding also rose, with the businessman having received regulatory approval to take his ownership to 40 percent.
Mr Kimani, who held 6.34 million Kakuzi shares or 32.34 percent at the end of 2021, closed last year with 6.52 million units, valuing his worth in the firm at Sh1.7 billion based on the company’s latest trading price of Sh264.
He had raised his stake to 6.77 million units or 34.54 percent stake by the first week of August last year after purchasing an additional 431,434 shares.
He, however, cut back his stake by a small margin by the end of the year.
The agricultural firm’s net profit more than doubled to Sh845.8 million in the year ended December, up from Sh319.7 million a year earlier.
Kakuzi is set to pay a record dividend of Sh24 per share or a total of Sh470.3 million for the review period, riding on strong sales and earnings growth.
The foundation will receive a gross dividend of Sh11.2 million from the NSE-listed firm, with the payment period put at mid-June to shareholders who will be on the share register as of May 31.
Kakuzi’s sales rose 34.5 percent to Sh4.4 billion, which the company attributed to higher production and exports of its key products led by avocados.
Production of Hass and Pinkerton avocados grew and there was also a higher contribution from both macadamia and tea operations, Kakuzi said.
Kakuzi last year became the first commercial exporter of African avocados to China with a shipment of 180 tonnes of fruit loaded in nine containers.