Afia juice billionaire owner announces NSE listing plans


Kevian Kenya owner Kimani Rugendo. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kevian Kenya owner Kimani Rugendo has hinted at plans of listing the foods processor on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

The public listing, through an initial public offering (IPO), is part of Mr Rugendo’s succession strategy that will see Kenyans own a piece of the multi-billion-shilling company which produces Afia and Pick n’ Peel juices.

“Succession is awaited and we will now call for an IPO. Be prepared,” said Mr Rugendo at a press briefing last week.

The plan is, however, still in its early stage and Mr Kimani did not provide timelines for the expected listing.

He made the announcement after launching a partnership deal with British juice processor Vimto that will see Kevian own an exclusive franchise to process and distribute Vimto sparkling juice in Kenya.

The family business that began in 1991 with the production of bottled water followed by fruit juices, sauces and soups in the early 2000s at its Thika and Nairobi plants has recorded rapid growth over the years. This led to its expansion at an estimated cost of Sh3 billion funded through borrowing from an international lender.

Two of Mr Rugendo’s sons work at the company.

Kevian Kenya currently supports more than 800 direct employees and thousands of small-scale farmers who supply the factory with fresh fruits.

With the new Vimto deal, the company is expected to provide an additional 500 direct and indirect sales and distribution jobs.

Tuskys chief executive Dan Gathua said Kevian had entered the innovation and partnerships stage where it is building deep relationships with not only local retailers but also international companies due to its ability to expand to the local and regional markets.

“Many of us would want to be part of Kevian’s journey and Mr Kimani if you can allow us to make investments and own just a small bit of Kevian, we will be glad,” he said.

He also called on both the national and county governments to ease barriers hindering the growth of the manufacturing sector including the high cost of electricity, logistics challenges as well as regulatory barriers.