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Co-op Bank CEO Muriuki sells Sh100m shares

Gideon Muriuki.
Co-operative Bank Group chief executive Gideon Muriuki. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Co-operative Bank #ticker:COOP chief executive Gideon Muriuki has sold nearly Sh100 million worth of shares in the lender, marking his latest trade in the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm.

The bank disclosed in regulatory filings that Mr Muriuki’s stake dropped to 1.77 per cent as at February 28, from 1.88 per cent (110.3 million shares) early last year and 2.05 per cent (120.2 million shares) in September 2017.

He has previously raised and lowered his stake in Co-op Bank in trades that indicate buying when the stock is cheap and taking profits in strong markets.

Mr Muriuki sold 6.45 million shares currently valued at Sh99 million based on the price of Sh15.35. Last year, the lender's share hit a peak of Sh19.50.

He, for instance, invested more than Sh100 million to buy 10.3 million shares in the bank in the first seven months of 2013.

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Mr Muriuki has retained his position as Co-op Bank’s single-largest local individual shareholder.

The bank share’s current pricing places the worth of his stake at Sh1.59 billion, making him one of Kenya’s wealthiest CEOs.

The bulk of the shares held by Mr Muriuki have their roots in a 2007 scheme that saw the shareholders allocate a portion of the issued shares to the company for purposes of setting up an “employee retention scheme”.

Mr Muriuki bought half of the shares that had been set aside for allocation to directors and top executives.

He was hired in March 2001 to turn around the bank, then a loss-making operation.

First net profit

Mr Muriuki reported the lender’s first net profit of Sh164.7 million in 2002 and elevated the lender to Kenya’s third-largest bank. From his stake, he will earn Sh103 million as dividend from the lender, cementing his position as the best paid executive among his peers leading listed companies.

The bank's shareholders are set for Sh1 per share dividend, up from Sh0.80 paid last year on the back of an 11.6 per cent rise in net profit to Sh12.7 billion for the year ended December.

The millions of shillings earned by Mr Muriuki in dividend will be on top of his CEO package, which last year emerged as the largest among firms listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE).

Co-op Bank paid Mr Muriuki a total of Sh370 million in the year ended December 2017 — Sh99.8 million in salary and allowances and a Sh270.7 million bonus.

The pay was equivalent to more than Sh1 million per day.

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