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Munga sells Sh4.8bn Britam shares to insurer Swiss Re

Billionaire businessman Peter Munga. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Billionaire businessman Peter Munga. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Businessman Peter Munga is set to sell 348.5 million shares of financial services firm Britam #ticker:BRIT worth Sh4.8 billion to Zurich-based insurance giant Swiss Re, completing his disposal of the 452.5 million shares he acquired from former owner Dawood Rawat in 2016.

Mr Munga first sold 104 million shares worth Sh1.4 billion in the open market last year as he raced to meet his self-imposed deadline of selling the stocks by August this year.

Britam made public the latest shares transaction in a notice sent to the Nairobi Securities Exchange in line with the market regulations.

“Britam Holdings Plc (Britam) has been informed by one of its key shareholders, Plum LLP (Plum) that Plum has on June 11, 2018 entered into a Share Purchase Agreement (the SPA) with Swiss Re Asset Management Geneva S.A., Carouge (Swiss Re), pursuant to which Swiss Re will purchase three hundred and forty eight million, five hundred and four thousand (348,504,000) ordinary shares (the Shares) in Britam from Plum (the Proposed Sale),” Britam said.

Upon completion of the proposed sale, Swiss Re will hold approximately 13.81 per cent of the issued ordinary shares of Britam. The latest transaction places the total value of the share sales at more than Sh6.2 billion.

Mr Munga has neither disclosed the price at which he acquired the shares nor the price at which he is selling, making it difficult to determine the benefits accruing to him from the transactions.

The billionaire businessman, who still retains a significant stake in Britam of more than 10 per cent through various investment vehicles, has been holding the Rawat shares under his company Plum LLP.

Swiss Re said it is investing in Britam for the long term, making it the latest in a string of high-profile institutional investors that have bought into the local insurer over the past two years.

Britam has raised Sh9.2 billion by issuing new stock to International Finance Corporation (IFC) and private equity firm AfricInvest. Mr Munga bought the 452.5 million shares from the government of Mauritius, which seized and sold several of Mr Rawat’s assets.

Mr Rawat, a Mauritian national, was accused by his government of running a $693 million (Sh69.3 billion) Ponzi scheme in the island nation. Mr Munga earlier said he would hold the shares temporarily, adding that the transaction was motivated by the desire to eliminate investor uncertainty brought by Mr Rawat’s troubles at the time.

“It is not our intention to hold the acquisition shares for the long term,” Mr Munga said through Plum LLP when the deal was announced in July 2016.

“The purpose of the proposed acquisition of the shares is to allow Britam and its shareholders the time they require to identify a suitable investor.”

Mr Munga was not available for comment.

Britam’s founders, including Mr Munga, have reduced their stakes in the company since it went public in 2011, earning hundreds of millions of shillings from the disposals.

The company’s top shareholders’ list has been dominated by local billionaire investors such Jimnah Mbaru, Equity Bank’s #ticker:EQTY CEO James Mwangi and the insurer’s chief executive, Benson Wairegi.

IFC, which has acquired an 8.8 per cent stake in Britam, has asked the company’s founders to maintain a combined stake of at least 20 per cent up to October 2019, a move seen as  demonstrating the founders’ commitment to the company.

AfricInvest was recently allotted a 14.3 per cent stake in Britam, with the entry of the two institutional investors diluting the equity of the founders.

IFC earlier said it could gatecrash into Mr Munga’s exit trades if the businessman gets good buyout offers.

“If any key shareholder wishes to transfer his shares in the company to an investor under the terms of an approved private transaction, or to a strategic investor through any means, IFC shall have the right to tag along on such a transfer on the same financial terms as shall apply to the key shareholder,” Britam said in a circular detailing the institution’s investment plans.

The investment from IFC and AfricInvest is a signal of their confidence in Britam’s future prospects, with the new capital to be spent on increased digitisation, development of new products and investment in regional operations.

“Britam’s regional operations, experienced management team, the entrepreneurial spirit of the key shareholders, and the company’s belief in good governance were all elements that attracted us to Britam. These are the ingredients that we typically look for as investors,” AfricInvest East Africa senior partner George Odo said in an earlier statement.

This is AfricInvest’s second major investment in a local insurer after UAP Holdings where it was bought out at a large profit as part of the insurer’s takeover by financial services giant Old Mutual.

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