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Centum to sell Sh19.5bn stake in beverage firms

Centum CEO James Mworia
Centum CEO James Mworia. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Centum Investment Company PLC #ticker:ICDC is set to offload its shareholding in Almasi Beverages Limited (ABL) and Nairobi Bottlers Limited (NBL) for Sh19.5 billion to pay off debt and make new investments.

The firm says it has entered into agreement with Coca-Cola Sabco East Africa (CCBA) to sell entire 53.9 per cent stake in (ABL) and 27.6 per cent of issued shares in NBL, subject to regulatory approval.

“The completion of the acquisition by CCBA of majority stake in ABL from Centum is subject to various conditions, inter alia, regulatory approvals from Competition Authority of Kenya,” Centum CEO James Mworia said in Wednesday notice to shareholders.

The deal will see CCBA, which currently owns 72.4 per cent stake in NBL, now possess 100 per cent ownership, deepening its grip on beverages market. It holds several bottling operations in 12 African countries.

Mr Mworia says Centum will use proceeds from these transactions in repaying a Sh7.5 billion bank term dollar-denominated loans, resulting in a finance cost savings of Sh700 million.

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“The balance of the proceeds will be invested in our private equity and marketable securities portfolios,” he added.

As at end of March 2019, Centum valued the two investments at Sh16.8 billion meaning that it is set to book Sh2.7 billion gain from the two transactions. The gain will however reflect in the next financial year’s books.

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