In the latest development, billionaire investor John Kibunga Kimani has expanded his holdings in Centum Investment Company Plc by acquiring additional shares valued at Sh48.8 million. This move has propelled his ownership stake to over five percent.
Centum’s most recent annual report reveals that Mr. Kimani now holds 34.69 million shares, equivalent to 5.21 percent of the company’s total shares, marking a significant increase from his 4.39 percent stake as of the previous year’s end in March 2022.
The acquisition of 5.46 million new shares has elevated Mr. Kimani’s investment in the company to an approximate value of Sh310.2 million, based on Centum’s closing share price of Sh8.94 as of the end of trading on a recent Tuesday.
This development solidifies Mr. Kimani’s position as the third-largest shareholder in Centum, trailing behind the estate of the late entrepreneur Chris Kirubi, holding 30.94 percent, and the State-owned Kenya Development Corporation, with a stake of 22.97 percent.
Additionally, the review period witnessed an increase in the shares held by Centum’s CEO, James Mworia, who now owns 5.7 million shares, representing a 0.86 percent stake in the company.
Notably, Mr. Kimani acquired these additional shares during a period when Centum’s stock faced a declining trend, closing at Sh9.10 in March, compared to Sh12.10 during a similar period in 2022, and Sh32 in March 2019.
It’s worth noting that Mr. Kimani also maintains a significant stake of 33.27 percent in the agricultural firm Kakuzi, with his 6.52 million shares valued at Sh2.51 billion.
Centum, in its annual report, asserts that its true value exceeds its market capitalization, citing a net asset value per share of Sh54.4 as of March. This discrepancy implies that Centum is trading below its book value.
The company initiated a share buyback program on February 6, 2023, offering shares at a price of Sh9.03 per share. By July, the program had successfully repurchased 4.8 million shares. Centum secured approval to repurchase up to 66.5 million shares over an 18-month period, aiming to mitigate market overhang and align the share price more closely with its intrinsic value.
Centum’s share price reached its peak at Sh9.50 in July, marking a 6.7 percent increase from the Sh8.90 price at the start of the buyback program. The company indicates that it refrains from participating in the market when its shares are trading above the Sh9.03 offer price.
The firm reported a consolidated loss after tax of Sh7.3 billion for the fiscal year ending in March, a significant increase from the Sh2.1 billion loss recorded in the previous year. The poor performance was primarily attributed to losses from the Two Rivers Development operations, driven by a Sh3.9 billion impairment provision in addition to high finance costs.
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