NSE tycoon rises to top Co-op Bank owners with stake purchase

Cooperative Bank of Kenya group managing director Gideon Muriuki during the quarter three results at the Sarova Stanley on November 17, 2016.
Cooperative Bank of Kenya group managing director Gideon Muriuki at the Sarova Stanley on November 17, 2016. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Billionaire investor Baloobhai Patel has acquired 5.8 million shares of Co-op Bank, becoming the fourth-biggest individual investor in the lender with a stake valued at Sh82.7 million as at Friday market prices.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm disclosed the share purchases in February regulatory filings, with Mr Patel having accumulated the stocks from late last year.

The share purchase is equivalent to a 0.12 per cent stake of the bank. His entry at Co-op Bank coincided with aggressive share purchases by low-profile billionaire investors Aunali and Sajjad Rajabali who have built a Sh324 million portfolio in the lender after acquiring 22.9 million shares equivalent to a 0.47 per cent stake.

The Rajabalis are now ranked second in the list of top individual investors after the bank’s chief executive Gideon Muriuki, who retains a 2.05 per cent interest in the company worth Sh1.4 billion.

Regional interests

The Rajabalis have moved to expand their regional banking interests, with the investors ranked as the top individual shareholders in Tanzania’s largest lender CRDB Bank Plc with a four per cent stake, according to the company’s latest annual report.

Purchase of Co-op Bank’s shares also expands Mr Patel’s local banking interests, with the investor also holding significant stakes at Barclays Bank of Kenya and DTB Group.

He is one of the most diversified high-net-worth investors at the NSE where he has been buying more shares including an extra four per cent stake in Carbacid Investments last year at a cost of more than Sh150 million.

Share purchases by Mr Patel and the Rajabalis came amid sell-offs by other individuals including directors of the bank.

Directors Julius Sitienei and Julius Riungu sold 1.9 million shares combined, reducing their ownership alongside Samuel Birech, Anthony Mburu and Welton Weda who dropped out of the list of top owners after trading their 14.1 million shares.